This post is from a larger series under the category Friend to Jesus. It is a detailed exploration of the three stages of faith: the believer, the servant and the friend of God. If you want to start at the beginning, it begins with the post How Looking at a Caravaggio Painting Can Change Your Life and then continues chronologically.
There is every excuse for blundering in the dark, but in the light there is no cover from reality. It is because we strongly sense this, and not merely because we feel that the evidence is ancient and scanty, that we shrink from committing ourselves to such a far-reaching belief that Jesus Christ was really God. J. B. Phillips
God doesn’t want something from us. He simply wants us. C.S. Lewis
One of the more interesting ways in which a friend of mine began his life as a Christian was through an exceptional dream. Back when I was in college, I met Shunyuan; he was from Taiwan and was in his residency to become a physician at the University of Illinois in Chicago. Shunyuan began attending our little Bible study that we held into the wee hours of a Friday night—just a couple of 20-somes who were hanging out and talking about the Scriptures as it pertained to our motley lives. Shunyuan had grown up Buddhist and I wasn’t ever quite sure why he would show up each time we met—if you aren’t a Christian, taking your Friday night to study the Bible I would guess isn’t on too many people’s lists. Shunyuan’s beliefs were different than ours and he let us know that, and yet each Friday he would show up and be ready to share his own thoughts, often asking us really good questions on why we followed this person Jesus. Even though he had grown up religious, at the heart of it, he was an atheist. He really did not believe anything. That was okay for us; we needed someone to challenge our own thoughts and ideas, and he would often have some good stuff for us to think about.
However, this unbelief all changed one night. One morning he woke up out of a beautiful and terrible sleep, and his life was entirely altered. Shunyuan had a dream one fall night that dramatically changed him and altered his life. He recounted a couple of days later to us that in this dream he was swimming in the ocean with his daughter who was about six at the time. Shunyuan’s daughter meant everything to him and was the one thing that did bring him great joy and meaning to his life. When we would openly share about our lives, a couple of different times, Shunyuan would tell us that he would not know what to do if something ever happened to her. His daughter was the center of his life.
In this dream, his daughter and him were swimming in the ocean, and out of nowhere, a shark attacks his daughter, tearing at her right arm. Shunyuan pulls her ashore and as he sees the blood pouring from her arm, as a doctor he knows that if he does not tend to her quickly, she will bleed to death. He sees how dire the situation is and he grows pale because there is no way to stop the bleeding. The love of his life is going to die and he begins to weep. As he looks up, he sees a man walking toward them. A strange thing happens: immediately, he recognizes that this person is Jesus and as he fixes his eyes on him, Shunyuan realizes immediately that Jesus knows his true heart—that Shunyuan does not want to have anything to do with him. Again, because of this, he becomes hopeless because he believes that Jesus will not heal his daughter, which now he believes and knows that he can do. In the dream, Shunyuan envisions that Jesus will just continue to walk down the beach and do nothing to help him.
However, Jesus does the opposite of everything that Shunyuan believes and he walks up to his daughter and kneels next to her. Jesus touches her arm and everything is restored, healing her completely. Without looking back at Shunyuan, Jesus then wanders off down the beach without a word.
As we were on the edge of our seats listening to his story, Shunyuan told us that right after this he woke from his dream. As he was waking from his sleep, he was taken aback from the dream—at that moment, in the early morning, he decided to give his life to this Jesus. Shunyuan began to “believe” that Jesus was the Savior, his Savior and that he really could do remarkable things.
This is often how believing begins, we see that God is good and we begin to trust him just a little bit. No different than what happened to Shunyuan, this is how God moves into our lives—he whispers to us who he really is.
In: Friend to Jesus