"Your Faith Journey" had been the pastor's subject matter that evening. Later, as she fell asleep, she dreamt a deep dream, envisioning a walking tour with God as her Guide, revisiting some key locations along the rough path that had been her spiritual life.
When they approached the first signpost, she cringed. With heavy heart, she poured it all out--she knew she had been a disappointment, and she felt an awful guilt for stumbling so soon in her new faith. She mumbled on, but He suggested that they just keep walking, and with great relief, she agreed.
The fellowship and conversation with her Lord were so sweet, and the path widened out into quite a comfortable lane. She reasoned that maybe she would luck out, and not have to answer for any more of the failures in her life, and might even get to point out a positive patch or two! So she smiled and laughed and leaned on His great arm, and relaxed in the peace and joy flowing freely from Him and around Him.
Her smile faded when she first saw it, off in the distance. Oh, it was awful: the ground was blackened, as far as she could see, with steam still rising, carrying the foul stench of her sin with it. Everything within the smoking area that had once been living was flattened, dead or dying. Even the ground itself seemed to moan.
Closer and closer they walked, and her bitter sorrow expressed itself in tears. "Oh, Lord, I'm so sorry. Look at all this destruction. I ruined everything, didn't I?"
He said nothing, just wrote down some of His thoughts.
Lingering here was out of the question, so she nearly ran to the nearby hills to escape the smells, the death, the visual representation of failure her sleeping mind had laid out for her.
Finally, after a long, uphill climb (some parts were very steep!), they reached a summit, and paused to enjoy the view. Wow! More tears came, but this time they were of joy, and awe, and humble amazement at the "only-God-could-have-created-this" landscape spread out before them. She had never realized she had even the potential of this much beauty within her, but here it was--every green more lush and alive than the last, every inch of sky competing with its reflection in the crystal waters below, and living carpets of swaying color made of every flower imaginable, all of them displaying His glory.
As they descended from the mountaintop into the valley of peace and splendor below, her other senses were caressed with all that He had created, as well--intoxicating aromas, warm breezes, pitch-perfect bird song.
They tasted the honey oozing forth from wild honeycombs, and she laughed and danced and sang like a child in an untamed meadow, not noticing the coolness creeping into the breeze...
But she did feel it, eventually, and realized that the colors had faded, and the lovely perfumes had been scrubbed out of the air, and the winds carried only a bitter chill. Her shoulders sagged and she recognized that this was the current state of her relationship with the Lord--cold, gray, stagnant. "Lord, I don't want this, I want to come back to You..."
But He was not there. Her sleeping mind had deposited her into an empty room, where she was to review her sightseeing trip with Jesus.
Still feeling the frigidness of their last locale, she stuck her hands in her pockets, and discovered God's notes on the trip:
I remember that first setback, too. It gave me a lovely opportunity to work on you and prepare you for things that were to come.
And that charred spot--your remark was that you had "ruined everything." Ruined? Hardly. What I saw there was beauty--My blood covered all, then left a white so dazzling it was hard to miss. In fact, eight people turned toward Me for the first time because of the change in you. My book doesn't have a record of the sins you were talking about, so they are forgiven. Give glory to Me, Kiddo, and let go of the past.
And about our third stop--where it was cold...yes, come back to Me. Come back today.
She awoke weeping, and her heart and soul embraced Him anew: she would return to Him, and let Him mold her, once again, making her into His very own masterpiece.