I have a letter here written by a little girl named Ruth. It’s about a nightmare and then there’s a reply about fear. It says: This is Ruth. I’m glad you like the pictures I sent of being baptized at the zoo. The weirdest thing happened to me. It is kind of hard to explain but I’ll try. It is 9:30 in the morning and I haven’t even seen my parents yet because I started writing this letter when I woke up. The reason is because I had a dream me and my mom were put in jail. I can’t remember why but it was stupid. I do remember sitting on a cement floor crying. I also remember my sentence was twelve years. I turned that over and over in my head in the dream and every time I thought about it I cried. It was the worst dream I have had in my entire life but I think God wanted me to have it because, in a way I can almost understand what you’re going through. That may sound stupid I just had to write you a letter. Well when I woke up I wanted to scream for joy but I know the rest of my family would not enjoy that, so I just looked out of the window and smiled. Then I got a piece of paper and pencil and started to write. Well, I would write more but it’s Sunday and I have to get ready for church.
Okay so here’s the response:
Dear Ruth I just read your letter about your dream where you were in prison and had gotten 12 years. You said you were on the floor crying in your dream. I understand it’s common for us to have dreams that shake loose our emotions at a very deep level. This sounds like one of the dreams, those kind of dreams maybe your subconscious was finding a way to expand your capacity for empathy. This means you have a good heart and want good for other people. Only kind and loving people feel other people’s pain. The opposite of love is not hate. It is indifference. You have God’s love in your heart. That’s why you are not indifferent when you see me, and see the pain of others. This is all good. Don’t hate the pain. It means you are alive. Our country has gone nuts, and the evil government is doing all sorts of horrible things to good people. It’s got a modern bureaucratic face on it, but at the end of the day it’s still just satanic ritual. Bad things have been done to me because I am righteous and bad things could be done to you the same way. It could be a little while as a professor or a boss trying to make you feel stupid for worshiping God instead of the wisdom of the elite, or it could be as bad as the torture and prison they’ve put me through, but the key point is these evil people are horrified at the faithful, and the only ones of us who will get to see this firsthand are those of us who get persecuted. In that respect, our persecution is an honor and our servitude, a survivable adventure that opens our eyes to things most people can’t see. I’ve seen a lot of men break under the torture and abuse, but I’ve also seen a lot who didn’t break.
It’s not the tough guys who can hold up under torture. It’s the guys with a pure heart.
Ruth, you have the kind of pure heart that could survive even the worst of it. It’s beautiful. Hold on to that. But fear is a sneaky, creeping poison that can kill the heart. Fear makes us close ourselves off. Our hearts don’t die from loving, from being stabbed or burned or trampled upon. They died from experiencing fear. The Bible says, “fear not” more than any other phrase. It repeats that many hundreds of times. We have to learn to let ourselves be fearless if we want to experience God’s presence in our lives. Perhaps this frightful dream you had is an invitation for you to let go of your fear, and find your gentle courage, a full life, and true love. Loyalty to the King is not for the faint hearted, and it’s what you are called to. So just leave your trepidation behind and don’t even blink. Courage in the face of danger is perhaps the deepest form of worship we have. It is in our moments of battle and tragedy and pain that our spirit can whisper the most unpretentious prayers of confident trust to our King. God has woven his own fearless nature into our soul, and it is that divine nature within us that must step forward in the face of danger.
This is God showing himself to the evil ones who were against His children, and when the King of Kings makes an appearance in us, and we stand tall, and sure-footed against the storms of sadistic evil, we have with our whole hearts sung the praise of our King for all the hosts of heaven, and all the Fallen legions to see this is a worthy endeavor if ever there was one.
Conversely, if we lay down our faith whole heartedness and steadfast resolve and adopt in its place dread, half-hearted and quivering compromise we are singing praise to evil. We are worshiping that which is bad by standing in awe of it. Our trembling despair is offered up to the father of lies like a prayer. We must not do this. It is shameful. All of us have been scared before even Jesus who so shook up that he wept and sweat blood before the police showed up with his snickering friend Judas to arrest him. He knew what was coming and it broke his heart but he worked through it, swallowed his fear, and took it like a King.
Your dream was about being thrown in a prison cell for 12 years. The odds are that such a thing will never actually happen to you. You’re a young female and the Empire will likely crumble before you’re old enough to be considered a threat. But what has already happened is that your fears have made themselves known and invited you to overcome them. You must navigate the here and now regardless of what the future may or may not hold. If you can supplant your fear with forbearance and valor you will have multiplied your capacity for blessing seven fold. You will have become wholehearted. And wholeheartedness is the virtue that begets all others. On the other hand, fear is the soil out of which all the thorns and briers of life grow: We fear we cannot make an honest living, so we cheat and steal. We fear that we will not be loved for who we are, so we lie. We fear we cannot endure the pain, so we take the easy way out. We fear we will be taken advantage of so we don’t love without limits. We fear we will fail, so we don’t even try. It all starts and ends with fear. To be fully human we must truly be truly fearless. Sit and reason with yourself. Consider what you would give to be wholehearted. Nothing that can be done to you could ever be as tragic as a half-hearted life. Meditate on this. Let it sink in.
Then, after having counted the cost just accept the courageous authenticity that is already in your heart and in your nature. Doing this will also invite great pain and powerful enemies into your life. But in the gentle valor you will have found, you will not be dismayed by any of it. it is an acceptable price to pay. Life begins when we choose wholeheartedness over fear, let come what may.
I believe in you. your Friend