I was decaying in the middle of the frozen food section. My limp, emaciated arms could barely steer my cart across the slick grocery store floor. I caught a glimpse of myself in the reflection of one of the freezer doors. I was unrecognizable. Open soars and rotting flesh covered my entire body. My hair was completely gone, not a curl in sight. But I wasn’t the only one. Everybody in the store looked just like me. Rotten. Ugly. Dead.
My eyes were starting to grow dim as the moisture had nearly fully evaporated from my body. I could make out a glowing light at the other end of the aisle. “Must be the checkout area”, I thought to myself. I slowly made my way forward, the sound of crackling bone accompanied every step. I made it to the first available register. Actually, it was the only register. Before I even began to place my items on the conveyor belt, the cashier looked at me and asked, “Can you pay?” Suddenly, I realized I couldn’t. I had nothing, nothing but a heavy cart full of things I needed to pay for. I was silent. Then I replied, “No”. The cashier, without turning his head, directed his eyes peripherally, as if listening out for someone behind him. And there was someone behind him; a young man sitting casually on a counter. I didn’t notice him before. He looked at me. Then he smiled. How could he smile at me in my condition? He said, without ceremony, “I’ll take care of it.” Inexplicably, my cart was empty and a new cart with carefully bagged supplies was next to me. I suddenly noticed another man standing at the receiving end of the conveyer belt. “Had he bagged everything so quickly?”, I wondered. Then I noticed my hands. They weren’t decayed anymore. I looked to the side to catch a reflection of myself in a nearby window. I could recognize myself. A healed and healthy body. My hair was back; every curl in its place. Fresh. Beautiful. Alive.
I looked back. Now all three men were smiling at me. They looked almost relieved, as if they had been concerned for me. I could tell that they really had been. I was flustered with joy and confusion as to what just happened. I was overwhelmed. I could only manage to utter, a small, quivering, “Thank you.”
I grabbed the handle of the cart, preparing to move and make my way to the exit. Then I suddenly noticed through the store window that there were several people waiting by my car outside. They head weapons and their intention was to hurt me and steal what I had just received. My joy turned to terror. “Who were these people? Why were they out to get me?” Before I had a chance to panic, the young man on the counter said, “Don’t worry. He will go out with you.” He said this while motioning to the third man, the one who bagged all my supplies. The bagger immediately came and grabbed my cart to walk out with me. He was much bigger than I had first realized. As I proceeded to go outside, I noticed that all the violent people waiting by my car had scattered. I looked up at my escort, my helper. “He must have scared them off”, I thought. Then I woke up.
I had this dream on September 25th, 2001. Three days later I was baptized as a Christian.
It’s been a long time since I thought about this dream…too long. It came back to me as I was reading the words of Paul and Timothy to the church in Colossae:
In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. (Colossians 2:11-15)
Just before I had that dream, I had all the appearance of being a living person. I was doing well in school. I had friends. I had a budding future. And I was secretly miserable. I was so discontented and heavy with an inexplicable weight. I felt like a grave. Buried. Dark. Hopeless. I was the living dead; existing but not truly alive. Then I began to learn about Jesus Christ and the dream solidified the teaching. I started to understand that I was carting around some heavy life debt that was killing me. I couldn’t pay off the debt and God couldn’t ignore it. So He didn’t. He took on my debt and saved me from its penalty in one of the most miraculous rescue missions ever devised. He paid the penalty due to me and gave me the provisions and the protection for a new, abundant life, courtesy of Him. It’s overwhelming to think about. And all I can manage to utter is a small, quivering, “Thank you.”
Words for Syncing
Sync a little deeper…
Are you existing or living? If the first, ask God to make you alive in Him.
How does your life reflect being alive in Christ?
Tell me your story. How did you go from zombie to new creation in Christ?
Share your thoughts by posting a comment below.
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