If you’re like me, you seldom, if ever remember your dreams but the last 2 nights have been an exception.
Last night’s dream is the one I want to share with you. I dreamt I was one of several authors speaking in front of a large crowd about my book, The Victor, which was initially published in 2009 and republished again in 2022. I was trying to convey the purpose for which I had written the book and how I believed it was truly divinely inspired.
I am a Messianic Jew, wife and mother living in Orange County, California who writes Christian fiction. My entire family is Jewish. I attended a reformed (extremely liberal) Temple in my youth and observed the high holy days, but it was mostly done out of a cultural obligation rather than devotion to God. Like many Jews, I was raised with an anti-Christian/anti-Jesus “bias” and was taught that it was the height of betrayal to my Jewish heritage to “convert”. Growing up I had little to no interest in “religion” and at the age 13 considered myself an atheist. At this time the “Jesus Movement” was in full swing, and I found myself a “prime target” for the “Jesus Freaks”. I came to faith in Jesus as Messiah as a direct result of watching the television film, “Jesus of Nazareth” by Franco Zefferelli in 1977. From that moment on I began to read the Old Testament and discovered that believing in Jesus was the fulfillment of my Jewish faith not the betrayal everyone claimed it was. I became the Jesus Freak I used to make fun of.
I was inspired to write The Victor in 1980 from the following words in Amy Grant’s song, “Fairytale”:
“…two princes wage the battle for eternity, but the victor has been known from the start.”
It took me over 30 years to get the story published. Shortly after I started writing it, I asked the Lord for a confirmation scripture that the inspiration had come from Him and “PSALM 45” popped into my head. When I looked, this was the first verse: “My heart overflows with a good theme, I address my verses to the King, my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.” I was absolutely floored.
The Victor is my love letter to God and a means to convey this love to others by getting past their “watchful dragons”. What are “watchful dragons”? It comes from a famous quote of C.S. Lewis (the author of The Chronicles of Narnia) when discussing the power of fiction or “story” to have an impact for Christ:
“I thought I saw how stories of this kind could steal past a certain inhibition which had paralyzed much of my own religion in childhood. Why did one find it so hard to feel as one was told one ought to feel about God or the sufferings of Christ? I thought the chief reason was that one was told one ought to. An obligation to feel can freeze feelings. And reverence itself did harm. The whole subject was associated with lowered voices; almost as if it were something medical. But supposing that by casting all these things into an imaginary world, stripping them of their stained-glass and Sunday School associations, one could make them for the first time appear in their real potency? Could one not thus steal past those watchful dragons? I thought one could.”
Back to the dream. I was trying to explain to the audience about the watchful dragons but in my dream, it came out as the “watchful lions”. I also introduced the concept of “the magic mirror”. Unlike the Mirror of Erised in Harry Potter, which grants you your heart’s deepest desire, (sort of like my book, Make a Wish), the mirror in my dream was invisible. You won’t know that you have looked into it, until you have gotten past the “watchful lions and realized that you need Jesus. The mirror in my dream doesn’t show you what you want. It shows you the truth about yourself if you have the eyes to see it. While trying to explain the mirror concept to my husband, he summarized the “watchful lions” in one word: PRIDE.
It’s our human pride that puts up walls and blinds us to the harsh truth and keeps us from receiving Christ as Savior. Pride in thinking that we aren’t as sinful as the next guy (or at all) and that God grades “on the curve”. The “magic mirror” reveals who we actually are: poor, wretched, blind and naked and in need of redemption. Artfully woven stories can get you past the watchful dragons (or lions) that guard the walls, through the portcullis of “religiosity” and into the courtyard of receiving the truth by engaging your heart and emotions. Good stories get you to invest in the characters and empathize with them only to realize that they represent something (or someone) much greater just like I did so many years ago by watching Jesus of Nazareth.
As I was praying and asking God to help me write this blog post in a way that made sense, I believe He gave me an epiphany on the way home from church. He reminded me of the term that is used to describe a pack of lions: PRIDE.
Are your lions getting in the way?