Take the High Ground

Some dreams cannot be forgotten. They leave such an impact that you find yourself remembering them years down the road, the dreams rising unbidden to the surface. As a kid, I took up recording my dreams because I found that if I wrote them down right after I woke up, not only would I remember my dreams more often, but I would start to have more interesting, vivid dreams.

I don’t remember most of my dreams, even the ones I recorded. Ironically enough, most of the dreams I remember years later are ones I never took the time to write down.  I remember having recurrent nightmares about a snow monster scratching my grandparents’ ceiling, and something big about to crush me. I remember dreaming about nighttime military escapes, tornadoes, and Batman fighting Joker. I remember trying to fly but being unable to do so, and being able to breathe underwater.

But I only dreamed once in color. The grass was a vibrant green and I could actually feel the heat and humidity of the day even though I was merely a spectator in the story that was about to unfold.

I believe some dreams have meaning, as in the case of Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar, Joseph and Pharaoh, Joseph and the angel, and we shouldn’t be too quick to disregard dreams that stir (or unsettle) us. It could mean nothing, or it could be a tap from God saying, “Hey you, pay attention, I’ve got something to show you!”

The following dream is from April 30, 2005 (minor editing for ease of reading). It’s a reminder to me that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12).

A small group of warriors stood on a stone ledge overlooking a great hall and watched their enemy, distorted creatures of the Dark Lord, mill below them into battle formation. Thick cables stretched over the great hall, hundreds of feet above the demons, and around these cables flew four creatures that resembled dolphins. The light blue dolphins were gentle creatures, and one could easily alight upon their backs to ride, but the dark gray dolphins were dangerous, evil creatures of the Dark Lord. They had been trained to tear their enemies to pieces with their long, jagged claws.

One warrior lost his foothold and slipped over the precipice, falling into the teaming mass of demons below. His comrades could only stand by and watch, crestfallen, as the black mass below carried him away to his death. There was nothing they could do to save him. Not against so great an army. Not with so little time.

But there was one man who leapt off the ledge after his fallen friend without regard for his personal safety, grabbing onto one of the cables and pulling himself over the great hall. He ignored the stone walkway that bordered the great hall, for although it would be safer, its precariously thin walkway would slow down his progress and thus ensure his friend’s demise.

He did not get far, however, before one of the flying gray dolphins converged upon him. He flung himself to a different cable in hopes of evading the creature, but the dolphin easily followed and sunk its claws into his back. His comrades felt his agony as they watched helplessly from the stone ledge, too far away to help. By the time he was able to free himself of the beast that had wounded him, his friend had been at the mercy of the enemy for too long. His comrade was long dead, his butchered body brutally torn to pieces.

It was not long before the warriors were reunited with their beaten hero. Although they mourned the loss of their fallen friend, they were grateful that their hero had not been killed, for they could not afford to lose him. As their leader, he was the strongest, most skilled warrior of them all, a man to be trusted and followed.

Sometime later, the warriors found themselves in an open glade that was sparsely dotted with trees. A thin river snaked through the center of the glade, and the long shadows that fell from the clouds did little to dispel the midday heat. The air was heavy and humid, without even the slightest breeze to ease their discomfort, their muscled bodies dripping with sweat beneath their silver-plated armor. They each wore long swords on their backs and many sets of strong, fearless eyes surveyed the place where they would battle the Dark Lord and his minions. Here they would fight and perhaps die to avenge their fallen comrade by defeating the evil in their wake. Their hero hung his head, a tortured soul, his heart heavy with grief. He had failed his friend, but he was determined to redeem himself.

The warriors stood on a battlement of an ancient, forgotten fortress, choosing to overlook the battlefield from the high ground. All was deceptively peaceful, but a sense of foreboding settled upon the glade. No sound but the warrior’s breathing could be heard, for it seemed even the birds had gone into hiding.

They did not have long to wait.  Like scattered pieces of night, the Dark Lord’s demons broke away from their hiding places and poured out onto the open glade to engage the warriors in combat. Hours seemed like days as the battle surged on, steadily drawing the warriors from their place in the broken fortress to the riverside. The sun beat down relentlessly, and the exhausted hero soon collapsed at the feet of the Dark Lord. He looked up to behold his most powerful nemesis.

None of them were prepared for what he was about to endure. They had been trained to counteract the short, successive bursts of fire thrown by the demons, but the Dark Lord was far more powerful than any demon they had faced, and he would show no such mercy on their hero. Hatred burned in his eyes as he sized up the warrior on the ground before him. The hero was weak, and the Dark Lord would now punish him.

 

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As the Dark Lord stretched out his hand, the hero barely had time to raise his sword to protect himself from the sudden inferno. A continuous river of blood-red fire slammed into him, and as the fire collided with his blade, sparks of fire and light exploded in all directions. The sheer force of the impact forced him from his knees and drove him steadily backwards. His blade pulsed with a pale, unearthly light, and it was all he could do to keep his sword raised to block the heat from his body. Pain contorted his face as he strove to maintain his ground in the midst of so much power.

The fighting between the warriors and the Dark Lord’s minions gradually subsided as the demons and warriors slowly detached themselves and moved closer to watch the confrontation. They knew that this fight would determine the battle.

“Take the high ground!” the warriors shouted as they watched their hero being driven downhill, fighting to maintain his balance. If he fell, all would be lost.

However, they quickly realized that they no longer had to worry about that, for something much worse was happening.

Their hero sank to his knees and bowed his head, his arms quivering in exhaustion. The Dark Lord’s eyes glittered wickedly and he smiled, attempting to strengthen the onslaught.

“Take the high ground!” the warriors begged upon the hills all around him, but he could no longer hear their pleas. “Get up and take the high ground!”

The dream ended there, but I wish I could have seen the ending!. But perhaps the outcome of the battle is for me to decide as I choose to either live each day in obedience to Christ or accept what the world has to offer.

“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand” (Ephesians 6:13).

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