Another dream. I saw the number thirty. I've always been fascinated with dreams--believe that they can be messages from God. My husband thinks I'm slightly cracked, yet I am not put off by his doubts, and can understand his dubiousness, understand that my take is a bit weird--perhaps more than a bit. Dreams are mysteries. And I attempt to unravel them, first asking myself, "What might God be saying, what might He be hiding for me?"
My first avenue for decoding the number thirty included reading books of the Bible that have a thirtieth chapter. There really aren't many. I read things I didn't understand in Ezekiel and comforting words in Psalm 30, encouraging words in Deuteronomy, puzzling concepts in Leviticus. I recalled Rachel's and Jacob's love story in Genesis, the details God spoke to Moses in Exodus. Then in I Samuel I found the phrase I sense God hid for me: David strengthened himself with trust in his God (30:6, The Message).
The notion of strength intrigued me, because I am physically weak now, managing side effects of medication intended to make me well--eventually. How did David strengthen himself with trust in God? How do I accomphish this? A thought that came to me was remembering parenting my own children. When my girls were small, I'd put out my hand when we went about our errands, or when we were more adventurous and headed to amusement parks or to the zoo. They were rarely hesitant to grab hold of my hand. They trusted me to lead them, even when they weren't sure where we were headed. And I will never forget the sensation of their hands in mine. I could feel the dimpled flesh, the slightness. I relished that soft contact, glad to be their mother, happy that we could go places together. Delighted with their trust in me.
I thought of how God must enjoy it when I place my hand in His. Even when I don't know where the pathway leads, His firm grip is succor and strength, despite the uncertainty.
The thirtieh chapter of I Samuel goes on. David and his army had just been raided, their provisions, even their families stolen from them. David prays, Shall I go after these raiders? Can I catch them? The answer came, Go after them! Yes, you'll catch them! Yes, you'll make the rescue! (30:8, The Message). And surely, even when many of David's army grew too frightened to confront the enemy, their troop prevailed. All that had been stolen from him and his men was restored.
We are confronted with life's battles, whether it be vulnerabilities with health, not enough finances, relationship conflicts, loss of employment, loss of life, disappointments, broken commitments, unmet expectations. Things are stolen from us. What are our options when these battles and confrontations seem to overwhelm us? We can give up. Sometimes it does feel easier to select this option. "What difference does it make anyway if I fight; I'm probably going to lose; it's hopeless." When I was parenting my girls, I remember times when they would pull their hands from mine. They didn't know the dangers lurking about. And I would run after them, calling their names. I'd fear for their safety, pursuing them with all that was in me. And when once again, I felt their delicate palms in mine, relief flooded me. I only cared that they were safe again. I can only imagine that a loving heavenly Father feels that same way when we don't resist His pursuit, and hold out our hand to Him and say, "I trust you to keep me safe, to strengthen me, to restore the stolen things. I'll grab your hand and fight. I'm no good on my own."