It seems I had died! In my dream, I was standing alone before an enormous set of gates. Closed and rising skyward like a mountain peak, the tops of the gates obscured by great billowing white clouds tinged with silver and muted hues of teal. The intricate grill work on the gates was like nothing I had ever seen. Or had I?
On each gate, a tall winged creature was woven into the lattice; gigantic wings pointing toward a creature on the opposite gate.
I remembered then, seeing similar artist renditions of two kneeling angels facing each other atop the Ark of the Covenant.
I was aware of nothing else around me.
Suddenly, I found myself standing inside; the still-closed gates now behind me. A man dressed in white stood several paces ahead with his back to me. As he turned, I recognized Him as Jesus, although unlike most artists ever depict Him. His eyes looked sadly back toward the gates. I turned to see what He was gazing at so intently.
There, desperate hands were reaching through the grill work far below the winged creatures. I could see the people’s lips moving, their eyes pleading to be let in, but could not hear their voices. Turning again, I saw Jesus walking away.
“Those are the hands of many you were meant to tell about Me, and you did not,” I seemed to understand.
Jesus was gone now, and it struck me deeply that He had not said what I’d hoped to hear—“Well done, good and faithful servant.” I had made it safely inside the gates, but the hands that were reaching toward me would be eternally left outside.
Beyond the Gates
That disturbing dream caused me to wonder what it was speaking to me, personally. Not that I believe all dreams have some deeper meaning; but this one was so real.
There, beyond the gates of heaven, I had wondered, “What more could I have done or said that might have made a difference for those outside?”
What might I do now?
The apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Corinthians, “God’s GRACE is sufficient.” It’s humbling to be the recipient of God’s grace when, like Paul, you’ve thought of yourself as “the chief of sinners.”
The SAVING GRACE of God is that, although we deserve Hell for our sinful ways, when we stand before Christ one day (and we will), if we have trusted Him and HIS righteousness to save us, we won’t have to try to justify ourselves by the flimsy, raggish evidence of even our best earthly works. By faith in Him alone, we will be justified!
My dream had seemed to accuse me, “Those are the hands of many you were meant to tell about Me, and you did not!”
However, believing Christ’s sacrifice and His grace to be sufficient for salvation, why would I concern myself (in dreams or otherwise) that I had not done enough works?
In Romans 4:4, Paul wrote, “Now to him who works [to earn salvation], the wages are not counted as GRACE, but as DEBT.” Our salvation should cause us to do good works, but “good works” without faith in Christ will not save anyone.
Another Question to Ponder
What will cause the Lord to say to any of us, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant’?
Although it is grace through faith in Christ that saves us, in Matthew 25, Christ assures us that the evidence of our love for Him (the “fruit” of our faith) will be the acts of the heart that we have done toward others. God will reward us according to the works we did whole-heartedly toward the hungry and thirsty, widows and orphans, those in prison; any in need of comforting, as though serving Christ Himself.
“What you have done unto the least of these, you have done unto Me,” Jesus said. It seems the more we extend our love and grace to others, the more Christ is served, and the more love and grace comes to us. Grace for Grace!
Birthing a Dream
Not long after my dream, my sister Donna Marquean Griggs and I began writing a musical stage play the Lord had put on my heart in 1986. I had procrastinated about that calling all those years. It’s the powerful true story of Christian author and Holocaust survivor Corrie ten Boom. Donna and I finally set her story to music.
It took a dream to begin the project in 2009—and “Ten Boom the Musical” was born!
Corrie’s life was full of grace for others; loving and serving millions in Christ through her testimony and her many books. I believe she would not have looked back at reaching hands when she entered heaven’s gates. Telling her story hopes to reach many more “hands” for His kingdom.
Near the end of the Musical, Corrie is about to be led away by a Nazi prison guard, when another prisoner, who has mocked Corrie’s faith for months, suddenly runs to her. Desperately, she asks Corrie how she can know God, before the Nazis take her life.
Corrie and “Giselle” sing the play’s signature song, “Imagine Perfect Love,” and Corrie’s amazing story ends on a high note after all!
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