April 6, 2023
“…I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions” (Joel 2:28, NIV).
I’m sure my dad told me he loved me during his life, but I just don’t remember a particular incidence. At his funeral, my mom and three brothers asked me to give the eulogy, which I was honored and privileged to do. My wife Barb and I then went away to a beach location to have time away to grieve and recover together. While there, one night, just before dawn, I had a dream.
I was standing in the church foyer just behind my mom as she greeted those who were leaving my father’s funeral service. Just then, to my shock, my dad walked out. No one noticed him. He walked up to me with no discernible limp, which was remarkable given he had lost a leg fighting in World War II and had an artificial leg. He asked, “Did you really mean all those things you said about me?” Without hesitation, I answered, “Absolutely! Every word!” He looked down for a moment, and when he raised his head, he had tears in his eyes, smiled and softly said, “I really do love you, Son.”
Instantly, I woke up, crying, to find Barb holding me tight. As my weeping subsided, she whispered, “What’s the matter, honey?” I told her about the dream. Knowing that I almost never remember dreams, she had me write it down. I did and wondered whether it was a message from heaven or only wishful thinking. But I know the truth. Scripture tells me that the Lord speaks through dreams, and I will be eternally grateful for this affirmation from my dad, given by our Abba, that filled my grieving soul with His fruit of love, joy and peace.
—Walt Larimore, MD
My granddaughter Lyla loves puzzles; she loves putting together anything; I’ve predicted engineering for her career. On family vacations we always have a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle on the table that together we must finish during the week one piece at a time.
My life as a Christian has been much like such a puzzle laid out on some big table—with all the flat edge boundary pieces assembled and a vision of the final picture on the box cover, with so many central pieces yet to be placed. Those who don’t know our Lord have it harder. They have no flat edge pieces and no box cover, leaving only culture and imagination to envision the final product on their own. In Christ and in Scripture we have the boundaries laid out, and the box cover visible, defining who we are and where we are headed. On this side of glory, God’s Spirit places piece by piece into our lives as the puzzle becomes more and more like the one we will someday be when perfected in Christ.
All of us have pieces that are missing. Throughout our lives we push through the pile and hope to find the pieces we really long for to complete the image we desire. Gradually pieces are found, but some are still missing, turned upside down or fallen under the table, perhaps hidden for a lifetime, like Walt’s father clearly saying, “I love you, son.” There are holes in our puzzle we cannot fill.
But the tomb is empty; Christ is risen; we, too, will rise; “everything sad is going to come untrue,” as C.S. Lewis wrote in The Return of the King, and all good things will be made perfect according to Hebrews 10:14. And thank God that He blesses us with “signals of transcendence,” like Os Guinness references in Signals of Transcendence, in dreams, visions and events to reassure us that no piece of His perfect puzzle will be lost.
Help me to see your signals and live with confidence that you will complete the puzzle of my life that you fashioned before I was born.