The Great Exchange
I had a very vivid dream a few weeks ago that truly shook me to my core. I woke from it very disturbed and immediately asking God, “What was that truly about and why? If this was from you Lord, PLEASE let me understand it's message/meaning?” After much, careful thought and prayer and then discussion with my girlfriends in our ministry, my takeaway was that this dream is a current day picture or parable, if you will, of the “great exchange.” What is that you may ask? I am so glad you did! But, first, I believe I need to make several caveats to help you understand this better, especially if you are new to our ministry or blog:
1. God communicated messages to individuals (both believers and nonbelievers) thru dreams in both the Old and New Testaments and He hasn't changed! He still can, and does, communicate thru dreams (and visions).
2. Ever since I have come to fully understand and embrace the above knowledge for myself (beginning approximately five years ago), I have had many, many significant dreams (and visions) from the Lord with either a discernible, personal message or a message that pertains to the work of our prayer ministry.
3. As I have had more personal experience interpreting my own dreams, as well as dreams of others, God has even communicated to me themes in my dreams that have had an application to the Church as a whole such as the dream that I am about to share with you.
4. The responses of my three children in my dream are in no way a reflection of their normal, expected behavior. Each of my children have a very strong and growing relationship with the Lord, and I in no way feel that this dream is a message pointing to the condition or state of their hearts. Rather, I believe God used them as examples of the attitudes and responses of many of His children in the world today.
5. Lastly, this is a heavy dream with a sobering message. I share it with you cautiously as I do not wish the message to be misunderstood. I did not even want to write it down in my journal immediately because it bothered me so greatly. I share it now because God will not let me ignore it! I believe it conveys the heart-stopping message of the cross with a vivid, modern day illustration that can benefit us all!
In the opening scene, I am observing general revelry in a street lined with houses, reminding me of what one might see in a college town after a big win of their football team. Next, my oldest child (a senior in college) is being led by a stranger across the street to an unfamiliar home. He asks me to follow and I do so along with my youngest child (a senior in high school). When I enter the home, the scene is rather chaotic. There are young men everywhere with makeshift beds and mattresses scattered from room to room. As I am making my way through the home in an attempt to follow my son, I eventually lose sight of him as he goes through a doorway. The young men in the room notice this as well and immediately begin to come towards my daughter and I and circle around us. It is apparent that they have evil intentions to harm us (and because of the mattresses lying around, I knew they wanted to rape us). I am absolutely mortified and my immediate thought is, “What would your mothers think?” I am not sure if these words actually come out of my mouth, but all of my attempts to get away, scream or thwart them are completely unsuccessful. Next, I lose sight of my youngest daughter who has been taken into the next room. I immediately yell out, “Take me instead, and let her go!” They stop right away and release my daughter who has apparently taken a fist blow to her face (her eye is bruised and red), but no more harm has come to her and she leaves.
The dream then, thankfully, seems to completely fast forward to the next morning, and I enter my own home through the front door. I am aware that I am weak and hurting and barely able to walk. All three of my children, the previous two I have mentioned as well as my middle daughter, are sitting just inside our front door on our staircase leading to the upstairs. I notice that my son is busy working on his laptop with a brown, paper bag of some kind (like a lunch sack) beside him. I immediately explain that I have suffered great harm (I know that I have been gang raped though I have no recollection of the details) by these young men, and I am so glad that they are all okay. I ask my youngest if she had told her siblings what had happened or if she had sent for help for me, but her reply was no. I am in disbelief but don’t condemn her, rather I tell her that she should get help if such a thing ever happened again. What is so disturbing though is that none of my children seemed concerned for me, their parent, who has just endured terrible suffering and harm. Instead, they are rather aloof and nonchalant as I tell them. I decide to go upstairs to lie down in my bedroom and have to ask my son to move his things aside on the stairs so that I can get by because I can barely walk. I go on to say that a girl at the home where I was hurt told me that I would feel better after two days. Then I wake up!
So, you see, this is not your typical dream or nightmare! I knew that it held significant meaning - the details were so vivid, mostly the reaction of my children. In the dream, I, as a parent, basically sacrificed my life for the sake of my child; HOWEVER, all three of my children seemed aloof, uncaring and unresponsive when they became aware of what had transpired! I believe the word “exchange” passed through my mind when I asked my perpetrators to take me instead of my daughter. Without hesitation, I was willing, as a loving parent, to endure terrible suffering in the place of my precious daughter. Does this scenario sound somewhat familiar? I didn’t want her to endure such horrors which I was told I would recover from on the third day! But the exchange was well worth it to me so that she could be saved!
I hope this scenario sounds familiar to you because this is exactly what Jesus Christ, Son of Almighty God, did for you and I! He willingly exchanged His life to save ours! You should also know that my name, Rachel, means lamb and innocence. In other words, my very name and what I experienced in my dream, points to the “Lamb of God,” Jesus Christ, who gave His life for ours! As believers, and children of God, you and I know this, and we are now living lives that were made possible due to His sacrifice. However, are we living our lives, in the aftermath of that knowledge, like my children, aloof, unconcerned, or indifferent? I was so shocked by their response because I KNOW their deep love and care for me in reality. Why then did they not tell others about my sacrifice? Why did they not want to embrace me and show me their love and gratefulness? Good question!
For each of my children, I believe their lack of response in my dream was for different reasons and these reasons are representative of the excuses of God's children in the world today. My youngest child, who escaped physical harm herself, did not share this news with anyone out of fear of what other people would think about her. My oldest child didn’t respond to this news as I expected because he was distracted with his work (his laptop in his lap). I believe that my middle child didn’t respond as I would have expected because she felt somewhat removed from the situation, as she had not been there herself, so it was difficult for her to even wrap her mind around what I had experienced. I believe these three examples are an accurate portrayal of many believers in our culture today. Some do not share what Christ did for them out of fear. Others do not share what they know because they are very distracted with the things of this world, including their work and providing for themselves (his brown lunch bag). And lastly, many believers simply feel disconnected from the reality of what Christ actually did for them. Let’s face it, without seeing the story of the cross and our redemption portrayed on the big screen, it is difficult for any of us to truly grasp the price that Jesus paid. Even then, the suffering that He endured belongs to a culture far removed from our own. I believe this is exactly the reason God showed me the sacrifice of Christ, the Lamb, in a “current day” analogy that I could better relate to, and I hope one in which you, my reader, can also better relate.
The question, this dream begs me (us) to ask is, “Do we, as children of God, go about our lives showing a similar indifference to the love that was shown to us and the sacrifice made on our behalf?” A more natural reaction, if this scene from my dream were a picture of reality, would be that my children would have been completely moved by my sacrifice, they would be expressing their love for me, and they would be sharing this news with anyone who would listen. Do we see ourselves in any of my children as to why they did not respond as expected? It hurt me greatly, in my dream, as my children’s mother, to feel this rejection from my beloved children, and I believe our heavenly Father is equally saddened as He looks down on this same general response of so many who call themselves by His name. If this strikes a cord within you, I encourage you to “take a knee” and ask your Heavenly Father to forgive you for any indifference and to show you how to express to others the love that you have so graciously been shown by Him.
An interesting sidebar from my dream relates to the “world” that surrounded the key scene. It was a picture of partying, revelry and irresponsibility, even among some that I recognized to be strong believers. Similarly, the world we live in is carrying on in complete ignorance or disregard of the “great exchange” and is primarily concerned with having a good time, doing their own thing, or taking from others. The young men, who would be my attackers, looked “normal” on the outside and should have known better, but they were only concerned with fulfilling the evil desires in their hearts causing harm to their fellow human beings. My son was deceived to enter this home, but thankfully he escaped without harm. This made me wonder about how many of God’s faithful children are deceived to enter into the unknown where harm from the enemy is lurking. Our enemy, God’s enemy, seeks only to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10) and he is ever so subtle in his attack. Are we aware of the danger that we may be subjecting ourselves to as we go about our daily lives? Christ gave His life in exchange for ours to rescue us from much of the harm that the enemy would wish upon us. While we can’t escape all the trials that come our way, we can escape many temptations and would be harm if we were to slow down and yield to the Lord’s wisdom and guidance.
My prayer today is that you and I would NOT take for granted the sacrifice, the "GREAT EXCHANGE," that the Lord made for us all! I know how much I love my children, and I felt, with great sadness, their aloofness towards me and it hurt! Let us not grieve the Lord or His Holy Spirit within us by failing to express to Him, and to the world, our gratitude for what He has done. We should be greatly moved and eager to share this good news! Are we?
1 John 4:9 “And God showed his love for us by sending his only Son into the world, so that we might have life through him.” (Good News Translation)
1 Timothy 2:4-7 “He wants not only us but everyone saved, you know, everyone to get to know the truth we’ve learned: that there’s one God and only one, and one Priest-Mediator between God and us—Jesus, who offered himself in exchange for everyone held captive by sin, to set them all free. Eventually the news is going to get out. This and this only has been my appointed work: getting this news to those who have never heard of God, and explaining how it works by simple faith and plain truth.” (The Message)