“Lord”, I prayed in my journal, “can I have an advance”?
Sometimes I get discouraged because writing is incredibly time consuming and it demands to be done without compensation…at least at the point I’m at. I’m sure Stephen King receives plenty.
“But compensation can come in other forms.” I told God, “I’ll take other payment types, a small publication, a widespread recognition, cash or check is fine or a house in the back woods of Maine where I can spend some quiet time reflecting.” Just a little something to boost my spirits and ignite me for the rest of the journey, I thought. Even though I’m not sure where I’m going. I felt like we both chuckled a little. But I was only half kidding and He knew it.
Many years ago I had a dream. In the dream I was in a rock quarry. The quarry was deeply recessed in the earth a few hundred feet below some type of highway. It had been worked over. There was a man there, digging, and pulling precious stones from a dirty, dusty, dry place. There was not a shred of color or grass or vegetation. There were no trees or lakes, it was desert like and deserted. But I knew it was a quarry. And I knew the man was Jesus. He was working, and he was alone. I asked him if I could help, and his reply was, “you can, but I can’t pay you for it.” I said, ‘ that’s ok’ and the dream ended.
Immediately, when I asked the Lord, ‘for the advance’, I remembered the dream, as clear as a bell, God was reminding me perhaps, showing me the contract.
I’m a big dreamer, and I take my dreams very seriously. That dream only made a little sense to me all those years ago. I understood the literal part – I just didn’t know what the quarry represented or the stones or how I was helping him. I assumed the stones were people, precious ones who had been lost, and Jesus was saving them. I saw through a glass dimly, perhaps with my Sunday school goggles.
Maybe we see what we want, or know what we can and believe what we have to, to get through the tough times. I’m willing to admit all that. All I know is that if suddenly I receive an understanding that I didn’t have before and it encourages me to move forward…I’ll take it. I don’t care if others think I’m crazy, I know how dark and ornery depression can be and to me this was like the dawn arising in the dark night of my soul, and suddenly I had hope. The switch was flipped. And my hope comes from the maker of heaven and earth.
Suddenly, now like seeing a little green vine finally producing some fruit, my eyes have been opened and I can see what this all means, the dream, and my purpose for right now. But that’s really all I need is a word for right now.
Recently, I have been in a deep depression. Dark, grieving, confused, lost, in many ways and feeling like I am in a quarry, but alone. I have been struggling, desperately searching for some reason, some causes, something to goad me on. I am a prolific writer, and even that, I have been having difficulty doing because, “what’s the point?” No one reads what I write and all that I write goes undisturbed, unseen. The hours and hours I have spent writing and studying the scriptures and taking notes and making references and for what? And that is the pressure point. Depression gets its little talons in and steals your purpose and your hope. You stop caring about everything you cared about before because: “it’s probably been done before, there’s no point it’s not getting me anywhere.” You begin to feel as though you have been running in place…for years!
But the other day, God lifted me up, put me on his lap and gave me an advance. This is what it looked like:
The interpretation of my quarry dream. And a little insight, that He wants me to finish this 40 day devotional I have begun, edit, polish and sow it. This is my purpose right now. In this context my dream makes perfect sense. The devotion is a latter day gem, extracted from the scriptures, some new things, and some old, but fresh insights that others have missed or given up on or forgotten about. Words of hope and truth that bring us closer to a realization that Jesus is our greatest treasure. It’s my job right now to keep searching, keep digging and help pull precious living stones from the dust of the earth. I know it’s a big job but apparently He trusts me, and I trust that He spoke to me.
The quarry is the word of God, it’s deeply recessed because its ancient, known, interpreted, preached, and it has been picked over. So much has been extracted over time, commented on, written about, so much, in fact, it seems there is nothing left to write or know or see. This is one thing that keeps me from moving forward at times, because I think there is nothing that I could possibly write about from the scriptures that hasn’t been written before. There are no more undiscovered treasures, nothing new to find, in order to pass on.
But there is. In the middle of all that dust, and dry stone and seemingly empty recess, He is there. Jesus. He has not abandoned His word, He is the greatest discovery and because he is there he is revealing the very deepest, most hidden gems that many others haven’t the perseverance or endurance to find. There are a few who have been commissioned in these last times to continue digging with him and in the process, he is their reward, his presence is their advance.
“Help me,” he says, ‘help me, bring forth from dust, flesh and life and riches from my word, perhaps those will be the armed forces which destroy the devil.’
There’s a portion of scripture in which one of the prophets, Ezekiel, is interacting with the Lord. He sees a valley of dry bones and the Lord says, “Ezekiel, speak to those dry bones and tell them to live.” And Ezekiel obeyed. He saw flesh and sinews and life come into those bones and they formed a great army. Sometimes we see something like a pile of dry bones, or a quarry and to us it seems dead, past its time of glory and purpose, but God sees beyond the boundaries of today. It’s like the door in the wardrobe, we can only see it and move through it with eyes of faith. It doesn’t have to make sense to us.
There are times in life, I have decided, when you just do something, not because it’s right or wrong, or known or unknown, good or bad, logical or reasonable, you just decide it’s what you need to do. You put your head down and plow through. I need to stop feeling, and thinking about how and why and when and where, I need to just do it. Complete the book, speak to the dry bones, go through the wardrobe, and dig in that quarry. I’ll deal with the doubts and reservations later, because if I try to deal with them now I’ll never finish. That’s their purpose, I’ll never have good enough answers to those uncertainties. They become obstacles and unnecessary calculations arresting my progress. Right now all I need is a little faith and maybe a pen and a quiet room to advance my cause.
“Therefore, every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings forth out of his treasure things new and old.” Matthew 13:52
If you’re reading this and there is something pressing that has been on your heart for you to do for the advancement of the kingdom, and an enemy is throwing every encumbrance at you to prevent you from doing it, press through, bother God, knock, seek, ask. Awaken him in the middle of the night and don’t given up until he gives you what you need to move forward. There will also be a time when he is silent, it is then he desires us to have faith, for he will look for it when he returns. There is a purpose and a call to rise up in these latter days to gain insight, faith and to know our God!
*Daniel 11 & 12