Friday, February 27, 2009

shooting Africa...the little girl wearing orange in the picture I posted two days ago, is the object of affection in my lens, here. Somali Bantu refugees and Turkana people can be seen in this photo (along with a couple of strange white men)

A cardinal sings his song this morning, as the sun begins to peek over the horizon. The last time I saw it shine with this golden glow, I was watching it set in Uganda, through a bus window.

This day is full of promise. What will we do with it?

While I have other stories to share from my recent journeys, I feel compelled today to talk about a dream I had the last morning I awoke in Mexico.

I hold this close to my heart and have not been sure I would write about it.

We had arrived back from our time with the Totonacs around 12:30am. We had gotten to bed within an hour after. I had set my alarm for 6:30am. I had been invited to go with Pastor Alba to a prayer meeting at 7:00. I did not make it.

I drifted back to sleep. A deep sleep that left me feeling sluggish when I awoke (or maybe that was the cumulative affect of travel on my old body).

As my dream began, I felt a strong sense of knowing it from before. It was if I had seen it play out in a movie, and was familiar with where it was headed.

I was in a restaurant with BJ.

Dreams are a place where no sense has to be made of occurrences while they are in motion. We are left to figure them out afterwards.

BJ was around 10 years old. He was small for 10. The two of us were eating, when I saw the danger coming.

I wish I could remember much about him, but I cannot. As the dream unfolded, the urgent sense of deja-vu, caused me to focus elsewhere. I am pained to say I can remember little of my son from that dream.

Men with machine guns, masks and dark clothing were headed toward the restaurant. Immediate action had to be taken. My senses of imminent danger and a movie replaying in my head were intertwined and clouded my clarity.

I rose to my feet and ran to where BJ was sitting. I bent over to scoop him up. I had to grab him and run for the back and I had no time! I knew already where the back exit was, but could not explain how or why!

With my hands on him beginning to lift, the fog cleared and clarity returned. Seated in the booth behind him was another boy a couple of years younger. Both boys stared up at me as if seated side by side. This boys mother was not at the booth with him.
I did not know where she had gone but believed her to be in the bathroom.

Instantly, I knew what I had to do. I could not believe it. I was overwhelmed.

I released my grip on my son.

He looked at me with a knowing look.

The front door exploded as I grabbed the younger boy and ran for the back door.

I cannot explain what happened in the moments or hours between the exit of that diner and when I next encountered others. I only know it was dark when we were eating, and in my next memory it is light.

A mother ran at me screaming.

"He has my son, he has my son!"

Her cries for help were answered by one of the many policemen who had responded in the aftermath of the mass tragedy.

I could tell from her pleas that she thought I had abducted her son for perverse gratification. I had not.

As he was ripped from my arms, I began to calmly relay the story.

I saw tragedy speeding towards us during dinner. I had risen to grab my son and run to escape certain death. I did not know how or why, but I knew those who did not flee would perish.

With my hands on my son, the all consuming fear gave way to understanding.

I let go of my son.

I looked this little boy in the eyes and grabbed him instead.

I looked the mother square in the face and said. "I knew that if my son perished, he was ready. I knew my son had given his heart to Christ."

Her emphatic judgmental glare waned a bit.

"I did not know if your son was ready. I did not know if he had yet given his heart to Christ. I knew I had to bring your son out, because he may still need to be saved."

Her entire body language relaxed.

The officer took a step back.

Thanksgiving was now her expression.

Disbelief was his.

I began to share (and here is the part that doesn't make sense, yet it does) about my sons journeys to Peru and impending illness that had claimed his life. I began to talk about our book which relayed his story.

I was quickly interrupted by the officer.

"That was your son? I read that book! I cannot believe that was your son."

I couldn't believe it either, because I thought I had just left him inside the restaurant...and he was five years younger.

I awoke from my dream and began to sob. How could I trade my sons life for the life of one I did not know? I didn't care that it was right, I wanted a few more minutes with my son. I couldn't even remember details about him from the dream. I knew he was with me, but I didn't pay close enough attention to him. I lived those preceding moments the way most of us do...not paying attention, because there is always more time!

There is not always more time!

This dream is about God's Son, Jesus Christ who died for your sin and mine. He died that others may have life. His will is that we walk in obedience to His Word and share His love with our children, their friends, and those we do not know, but He opens doors of encounter with.

Until we are willing to place our own children on the altar of sacrifice, until we are willing to climb up on that altar ourselves, we will not be effective for Him!

This day is full of promise. What will we do with it?



At 9:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

God Bless,
Greenfield, Indiana

At 10:54 AM, Blogger Marti Pieper said...

Every time you share BJ's story, you are laying him down.

Every time you take students to the field, you are laying him down.

Every time you surrender your rights and leave the comforts of home, you are laying him down.

And the story of I WOULD DIE FOR YOU continues not as the story of losing your son but of willingly laying him down for (as our friends Billy and Cindy say) "the greater cause of Christ."

I see it in your life.

I watch it in your ministry.

And I am so proud of what you and Deanna are allowing Him to do through you as you continue this journey into the "new normal."

Thanks for letting me share a small part of it by

praying in pink
with tender love
(and more than a few tears),


At 10:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In your dream as in your life, you exemplify more and more the things that you are teaching...that we must be immediately obedient to what the Lord is telling us whether or not it is "logical" to the world around us. This is something I am struggling with. This is indeed sacrificial living, something too few of us practice for a number of seemingly sound reasons.

I believe more than ever that in days very near our sense of security will be challenged and our lives will demand this type of obedience...if we are to share Christ and serve His purposes rather than our own.

I know this story was very hard for you to share - thank you for sharing it.


At 12:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love you brother. May our Lord Jesus Christ bring you His Peace, comfort and courage.

At 3:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brent, your heart and passion for the Lord never ceases to amaze me. Your testimony is such a beautiful picture of surrender there are just no words for it. The Lord is using you and Deanna greatly in His Kingdom. Thank you for laying it all down for Him. I love you.

In Him,

At 11:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing, Brent. You never know who's life you will touch with your words. I know mine has been.

Lisa Potter
Santa Cruz, CA

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