Back when Covid was raging through the world, I woke up one morning remembering the strangest dream: I was at a church potluck, and I saw a woman seated at a paper-covered table trying to get a fork-full of food in her mouth while simultaneously holding a fidgety infant. (Of course, this being a dream, I didn’t recognize the room, the woman, or anything else. I just instinctively knew it was a church potluck.) I asked the woman if I could hold her baby for her so she could eat. She answered that she would appreciate that since she was there alone and a bit frazzled. I took the well-swaddled, cranky baby and carried him over to an open area where I could bounce him up and down and attempt to soothe him. He continued to fuss, and I soon realized that he had the hiccups. I moved the blanket which covered the baby’s face and saw at once that he had the face of Eddie Murphy, complete with moustache and prominent tooth gap. For some reason, this didn’t give me much of a surprise. I started blowing in his face, seeing if this would stop his crying. He paused for a second then said, “Stop doing that, woman!”
“I was trying to help,” I told him. “I was hoping that if I blow in your face, you would forget about the hiccups and you’d stop crying, then the hiccups would go away.”
“Well, I don’t like it,” Baby Face Eddie Murphy said.
About that time, my husband’s alarm went off and I woke up. I lay there thinking about my dream, trying to figure it out. What in the world was that about? Did I miss going to church functions? Did I miss seeing babies? Did I want to watch Shrek movies?
Dreams often reveal something about our state of mind. I’m not a professional or anything but I think that particular dream may mean my mind has been full of anxious thoughts!
We see lots of revealing dreams in the Bible. In Genesis, we see a man named Jacob who was also plagued by anxious thoughts. He had been second-born a twin. His brother Esau was a wild game hunter while Jacob preferred to stay around the house. But with the help of their mother, Jacob tricked their blind and aging father so he could get the blessing, the inheritance, the birthright only given to the firstborn male. Once the deed was done and distinction was transferred to him, Jacob fled. He knew fired-up Esau would now be hunting him.
Then we come to Genesis 28:10.
When I was little, this Bible story was most remarkable to me because of the rock pillow. I tried to imagine how uncomfortable it would be to sleep on a rock. I would think, Why not just lay your head on the ground? Surely dirt is more comfortable than rock. But, of course, this isn’t the crux of the story. What we read is God’s intervention in the life of a man on the run. We see Jacob, alone and scared, no longer surrounded by the comforts of his mother’s tents. Then God—the One who watches over us and never sleeps—gives Jacob a glimpse of angels being sent out on missions. Jacob gets to see how the operation works and how God is always ultimately in control.
Waking up from that dream, Jacob had a choice to make and he chose Jehovah as his God. He still had lots more traveling to do for his journey and lots more obstacles to face, but waking up and making that choice was the best way to start that day. I wonder if he had mornings after that one, where he tried to recreate the splendor of that stairway, grasping for that feeling that would make him proclaim his faith again.
We might not get that dream, but we can start every day with Jacob’s proclamation: “If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear, then Jehovah will be my God.”