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The face of my Shepherd

Updated: Jan 9, 2022

I want to raise my cup of life to you again. Once again it stems from a dream that I had that impacted me very profoundly.

I need to qualify a few things about the dreams that I have.

First of all I am not always sure whether they are Holy Spirit inspired or whether they come from last night’s pizza or just my own sub-conscious thinking. I therefore always share them for confirmation and I also test them against scripture. There are however some of them that I have no doubt about. This dream is one of those.

Secondly, very often I am the central character in the dreams simply because I am the one dreaming the dream. It does not mean that I am being selected for special attention and that the message is solely for me. Mostly it has a wider application for whomever witnesses with it and wants to receive it.

I had this particular dream in 2015.

I dreamt that I was with a group of people at the seaside. It was not any particular group, we were just a few people who were together. At some stage I turned around to look at the sea and saw Jesus at a distance walking towards us out of the waves. It was an amazing and exhilarating sight. It was as though I could not believe that this was happening.

I was standing on a small terrace overlooking the sea and jumped from it, running across the beach towards Him. It is impossible to describe the emotions that flooded me as I ran to Him – disbelief and wonder, astonishment, a joy so deep and overwhelming that I wanted to dance and shout it out, thankfulness, deep and intimate and personal love, worship, a sense of belonging and many others as well.

The closer I got to Him the clearer I could see His face. I cannot describe what I saw there. He started running through the water towards me as though He could not wait for the two of us to hug one another. His face shone towards me, seemingly with the same emotions that I felt for Him. We body-slammed when we got together. It was as though He was over the moon that at last the two of us were meeting face to face and His joy in seeing me was evident. I felt swept up into His presence. His love for me and the ecstatic and exuberant joy that was in His heart towards me was so great that I felt He wanted to dance with me, have fun with me and play with me. He just wanted us to be together, laugh and enjoy one another. I could not believe that anybody would be so joyful and thankful simply to be with me.

After our initial getting together we walked hand in hand to the shore and into the city. We came to a shop that we entered into, it was a pharmacy. Jesus was aware of everybody inside the shop, wanting to meet them and connect with them personally. It was as though He was present to all of them and alert to their needs. He did not go into the shop because He wanted to buy anything, He had no agenda other than them. We came to one particular young man and I knew that he had a lot of issues and confusion that Jesus was intimately aware of. He knew that the young man loved music and struck up a conversation with him. He said to him that He also played in a band and was an excellent bass guitarist. He invited the man to come and listen to a concert that He was going to perform in at Amanzimtoti.

The dream ended with me being aware of Isaiah chapter 11.

The following is a quote from my dream journal about the impact that the dream had on me in a very personal way:

The most striking thing for me about this dream is the expression on the face and in the eyes of Jesus as He looked at me. Our faces are the clearest mirrors of that which is in our hearts. Jesus’s face said it all, i.e. “if you want to know my heart towards you, look at my face.”

No wonder when God wanted to convey the ultimate blessing on His people He said: “The Lord make His face shine upon you [with favor], And be gracious to you [surrounding you with lovingkindness]; The Lord lift up His countenance (face) upon you [with divine approval], And give you peace [a tranquil heart and life].

Equally no wonder Paul said “For God, who said, ‘Let brilliant light shine out of darkness,’ is the one who has cascaded his light into us—the brilliant dawning light of the glorious knowledge of God as we gaze into the face of Jesus Christ.

To see Him initiating and wanting to be with me for the joy that He gets out of it is beyond my expectation. He initiates it, He has initiated it, the Trinity initiated it in Their eternal counsels, it IS that which fired the universe into being, it IS the womb that gave birth to everything that exists. To see the joy and love in His face just to be with me, to embrace me as though I can give Him anything that can complete Him means that He wants me and enjoys me. He wants me to live in this before I do anything for Him. It is the only thing that must define me – my preciousness to Him.

I know that His heart towards me is simply a reflection of that which He has with the Father and the Spirit. In other words when I see Him like this and catch a glimmer of the possibility of moving out of every other perception I have of Him and way of relating to Him, I am actually seeing what the whole of the Trinity is like, because to see Him and experience Him is to see and experience the Father. No wonder Paul said we should be rooted and grounded only in God’s love. How did we ever lose our way so comprehensively?

Love is not an ethereal concept, but encountering ultimate love is encountering the person and face of Jesus. Help me to see your face everyday Jesus!

It is also very meaningful that Jesus comes to me, not the other way around. He will find me wherever I might be as the shepherd who leaves the ninety nine and searches for the one that is lost. I often find myself lost in so many ways, cut off from Him. These experiences of “lostness” are often as a result of me messing up in some way or another. I buy into them because I believe that, surely His heart towards me must have changed.

Help me to remember Your heart Lord, as Solomon portrays the heart of the bridegroom towards his bride when she judges herself on the basis of her own perceptions of herself. She says “I know I am so unworthy, so in need”. You say “Yet you are so lovely”. She says “I feel as dark and dry as the desert tents of the wandering nomads”. You say, “Yet you are so lovely.” She says, “Please don’t stare in scorn because of my dark and sinful ways.” You say, “Listen my radiant one, if you ever lose sight of me, just follow in my footsteps…Come to me with your burdens and your cares….My dearest one, let me tell you how I see you – you are so thrilling to me,”

It is this Jesus who wants me to meet Him and live in the light of His caring heart for me who wants to meet broken humanity in the pharmacies of the world, those places that we all seek out to ease our pain and confusion. They must meet the One whom I am meeting through me. I am the point of contact for them. The joyous, loving, exuberant Jesus wants to make Himself known to others through my journey with Him. He has no other way of doing so than Him in me and me in Him. That is the way through which He comes to the world.

He wants to meet them and make Himself known to them in such a relationship in the pharmacies of the world and invite them to attend the concert of the band in which He is playing the bass guitar. He is deeply interested in every single human being wherever he or she might be. He wants to be uniquely present for every single one on a very individual and personal basis as He wants to be for me.

The Isaiah 11 part of the dream is equally meaningful. The first four verses especially speak to me:

There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, And a Branch shall grow out of his roots. The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD. His delight is in the fear of the LORD, And He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, Nor decide by the hearing of His ears; But with righteousness He shall judge the poor, And decide with equity for the meek of the earth;

As it was for Jesus in the days of His flesh so it will be for me, there is no other way. It is only through the same Holy Spirit that dwells in me that all these things will be made possible on the journey of life.

What I find extremely significant is that the only manifestation of the Spirit in the life of Jesus that is repeated is the fear of the Lord. Isaiah says “His delight is in the fear of the LORD”. The consequence of this is also very meaningful because he says, “And He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, Nor decide by the hearing of His ears.”

If I judge anybody on the basis of my perceptions and opinions of them I will simply be a reflector of my opinions and judgments, not of Him who enters all the “pharmacies” of the world and invites me to join Him as He does so

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