Third Saturday of Advent: One for the Books
“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you.
—Isaiah 60:1-2 (Read Isaiah 60)
A few months ago, I had a dream about an old friend.
When I woke up, I knew the dream was significant and sensitive to the timing of this current season.
In the dream, my friend (we’ll call him Jamie) and I were at a worship retreat. The gathering was in a beautifully lit cabin-like building with large wall-size windows and rays of light pouring in from the west. On one side of the cabin, worship leaders from every Christian tradition were singing, hands lifted and eyes closed. As I left that room and entered another, I encountered my good friend Jamie.
We hadn’t seen each other in over ten years and there was much to catch up on. Jamie updated me on his music career, his life, and his family. While he shared, I was keenly aware of his kindhearted spirit—a spirit that literally transformed the room we were in. I was profoundly moved by the strong presence of peace he carried and it felt as though an imaginary bubble of safety surrounded him.
As we wrapped up our conversation, I pulled out my phone to take a selfie with Jamie, but couldn’t find the camera app. My sister entered the room to help, but we all tried, to no avail, to capture the moment. (Pretty embarrassing for three cool kats, but at least it was a dream!) At one point, we considered reentering the worship service, but felt strongly that our fellowship was just as necessary—if not more—than leaving for the other room.
The picture never happened and the dream ended.
Upon waking up, I could not shake the feeling that somehow this dream held deep importance. I spent some time with my morning coffee recalling as much as I could, journaling, and praying for my friend.
“Should I reach out to him? Check on him? Tell him the dream?” I kept asking myself.
The day progressed and with the dream still etched in my mind, I drafted a long email to Jamie.
Jamie, I had a dream about you last night! Nothing weird so don't get creeped out or anything, ok?
I then went on to describe the dream to him as I did above.
Jamie, as soon as I woke up, God highlighted this verse to me for you—Romans 2:4 “...God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance…” I believe God is saying that your kindheartedness is your secret weapon and that the peace that you bring to your relationships and through your music is essential right now! As you’ve cultivated that fruit of the Spirit, God will use that to pour out his love on people and draw them to Him.
I continued on…
God is doing something very instrumental through the sound his artists are putting out in the world right now and he is using your sound, anointing your sound to transform hearts. In the dream, we didn't go back into the worship service b/c I believe God was saying that that was “old wine” and His artists need to create “new wine” in this season… And I know God was taking such pleasure in the 3 of us reconnecting. When I woke up, I knew God was saying "fellowship." Fellowship! The bond of believers is so important during this time. Agape love!
Twenty minutes after sending my email to Jamie, I had moved on. I’d never had such a clear dream about anyone, nor had I ever emailed someone about a dream—complete with interpretation and Bible references! But I had sent it, and there were other things to focus on for the day.
Then my phone rang.
It was Jamie.
Jamie: Joy! I just got your email. Wow. I don’t know what to think right now.
Me: Hey! It's so good to hear from you!
Jamie: Joy, where do you live?
Me: Philadelphia. Why, what's up?
Jamie: You’re not going to believe this but I'm in Philadelphia right now. I just got here. (Jamie lives clear across the country near the West Coast.)
Me: No way! No freakin’ way!!! Are you kidding me?
Jamie: I’m literally in Philadelphia doing exactly what you saw in your dream!
Jamie went on. He had been in talks with his church for over a year about stepping down as the worship leader to pursue his music full-time. Even though he had anxiety about providing for his family, it was a deep burden he could no longer ignore—God had given him a vision that he was finally stepping out to pursue.
Jamie was in Philadelphia meeting with family and friends, sharing the vision, and holding out hope that they would invest in what he knew to be a necessary but seemingly difficult road ahead.
As Jamie shared, I had goosebumps!
I could not help but think how AWESOME our God is!
How was it possible that I could lay my head down to sleep one night and wake up the next morning with a vivid and detailed dream about a friend I hadn’t talked to in so long? How could it be that this friend was in my city on that same day, actively pursuing his “new wine” purpose?
And how much did God care about Jamie that he confirmed, affirmed, and reassured my friend that he was on the right track, doing the right thing, in a year where there is already quite enough uncertainty?
Jamie couldn’t stop saying, “I feel like we’re in the Bible right now!”
I felt like it too.
2020 has been one for the books. Why? Not because of Covid, not because we’re all sitting ducks staring at computer screens like zombies—but because, in the midst of the darkest year this world has experienced (at least in my lifetime), I have seen God’s hand at work in the most dynamic of ways.
I have seen Him over and over piercing through the darkness with brilliant light. Even in the deepest, darkest hole of a year, even in the most uncertain time in our lives, God will show up, and is showing up to direct our paths.
Whether it’s a spotlight or one of those miniature keychain flashlights you get at a novelty store, His light is piercing through the darkness.
And when light enters, no matter how big or small, the darkness can no longer be! He will light our paths! Praise God!
That night, Jamie stopped by before leaving town. Before he left, we prayed for this huge step of faith he was taking and thanked God for showing up in an undeniably miraculous way to bless the work of his hands.
And then we took that selfie!
—Joy Ike is a singer, songwriter, and storyteller, and a longtime member of the CCO's Jubilee worship team. Find out more at her website: joyike.com