I know exactly how it feels to be beheaded…to watch my own body fall over on the floor…to feel the rope on my wrists.
I will say this is a true story of my dream-slash-nightmare-slash-dream but so real, I could smell my own fear. My tribulation.
As a real estate agent, my job is solving other people’s problems. It can be quite demanding, but I also have animals to care for – bees, sheep, even some domesticated deer in the pastureland. Our house is heated using wood, so there’s that to get ready.
Well, this particular day, I needed to clean the barn and spread fresh hay and chop a load of wood to start getting it ready for next season. In the middle of this, I had two clients that just couldn’t agree on the smallest details of their contracts. My son wanted to help, but, of course, he was too young to run the saw, so I sent him inside with his mother. Even though I knew she’d just send him right back out, I’d still have enough time to cut the ends off without him getting in the way. My daughters wanted me to take them into the woods on the tractor to look for mushrooms, but I simply didn’t have time for that. Then to top it all off, nearing the end of the day, my wife still didn’t have her strawberry patch done the way it is needs to be, so I had to help her with that. I didn’t want to. I was too tired, but the work had to be done. I was pulled in so many different directions that I didn’t know what to do first and whatever I did was wrong. Shower and bed. I was done.
Suddenly, I was in my pajamas on the floor in the middle of our living room. A fire was still burning in the woodstove and the lights were very dim. The fire cast shapes all along the wall. My hands were behind me and I made out the silhouette of myself, on my knees and hunched over, but there was a figure standing behind me. My wrists were burning and tied together, probably with a piece of rope.
I heard the fire dancing in the stove, and the figure behind me took in a breath. I slowly turned my head to the right wall as other shapes and figures materialized. Or perhaps they had been standing there all the while waiting. And then I recognized them. My three children, in order from oldest to youngest, and then my wife. All patiently waiting. And watching me.
I looked back at the wall in front of me, where I could see my silhouette and the shadow figure standing behind me. The hairs on the back of my neck rose with his exhale of air. He was slowly raising a machete.
The blood in my veins froze. At first, it was the fear of death. But then I remembered that death is not my enemy. Jesus promised me eternal life if I believe in Him. And in that moment I could feel my fear being replaced with joy. The shadow of the machete reached its tallest height.
When I made eye contact with each of my children, I was filled with regret. My son wanted to help me, my daughters just wanted to go on a tractor ride. I could have been a better father to them. I needed their forgiveness. The look in their eyes gave me strength.
But the hardest part was next…saying goodbye to my wife of 18 years. I was breaking my promise that I’d be with her forever. I slowly raised my eyes to hers.
Time stopped completely. I felt a rush of air as the shadow brought the machete down.
No pain. Just separation.
Still kneeling in the same spot, I felt the ropes loosen around my wrists. A moment of confused waiting and then my body fell to the floor in front of me. My head rolled off my shoulders. But ‚I‘ was still there, just lighter…without the weight of a body.
I so much needed to assure my wife and kids that I was still there, but…I woke up.
It took a little bit for me to accept the bright light from our bedroom window to be sunshine. I didn’t want think my time with my family was over. I can’t explain how the dream scared me. I immediately told my wife and a couple of close friends from our church hoping to find some sort of meaning.
My daughters had wanted to go on the tractor into the woods to look for mushrooms, so we went. My son sat in my lap and drove the tractor the whole way, while the girls were sitting in the trailer behind the tractor. Lunchtime came and went and I was just thankful to be watching their smiles. Fresh air, in the woods, thankful to be alive. My son drove the tractor all the way home.
Over the next couple of weeks, the dream was still too real for me. I needed answers but my wife was growing more and more sensitive to hearing about my death, so I decided to just forget about it.
Fast forward to one year later. The end of my 40-day fast was approaching. Even though I got up an hour earlier every morning for quiet time and prayers, none of my life questions had been answered. I begged God to show me which way to go. What I should change in my life to get as close as possible to His perfect plan that He had for me. I begged for some kind of sign that I could understand.
Out of nowhere, the dream where I lost my head came up. Once again fear tried to overcome me, but the knowledge that I was in God’s presence gave me strength. I was still on my knees and my body was lying in front of me on the floor. My wife and children were smiling and I felt happy. I quickly turned my head to see who had ended my life. I needed to know who the shadowy figure was.
It was me.
Romans 8:13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if, by the Spirit, you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.