How would you react if God shared a specific date and time with you in a vivid dream?
Would fear paralyze your heart? Would you speculate as to who it impacted? It might cause you to wonder if it was when someone would die — possibly you? Maybe regret would overwhelm your mind. You could possibly be filled with a joyous longing to finally meet Jesus. The unknown conjures up unique images for each person.
In addition to such a dream, what if throughout your lifetime you had similar dreams or visions and they’ve eventually happened just as you saw them. You’re living your everyday life and, zap, like an electrical current running through your body, you realize you’ve seen the scene and experienced that specific moment almost as if time was suspended for that brief moment. The occurrence exceeds mystical déjà vu or ridiculous reincarnation. It is a God-given reality with specific scenes, people, and moments.
On top of all that, how would you react if your spiritual gift is prophecy?
Welcome to my reality.
About three months ago, I had such a dream. I was in an upscale restaurant located on a huge pier. Through the windows, I could see an enormous cruise ship docked. On the table in front of me, I saw what resembled a fancy menu or placard with these words: “July 3, 2019 @ 7:41 am. Sign-in time.”
I’ve been on one cruise in my lifetime and do not wish to ever repeat that experience. So, I suspect the message wasn’t foretelling a pleasure cruise. Maybe the departure time was for those at my table? Or could it be God giving me a heads up that it was time for my earthly departure?
As I pondered the dream’s message and potential meanings, I called my neurosurgeon’s office to schedule my pending back surgery. I decided it was time to relieve the excruciating pain from my two herniated discs. Yes, I had exhausted all other recommended alternatives. The receptionist checked the schedule and said, “Mr. Stevens, the earliest we could get you in would be July 3rd.” Smiling, I asked what time. “Please be here at 5:30 am and we’ll start at 7:20, but you could get bumped a few minutes later depending on how the morning goes.”
So, was my dream simply a foretelling as to when my back pain would be relieved? What if it holds a deeper meaning? Not to be morbid, but what if it was God’s gentle way of persuading me to get my earthly affairs in order as He was bringing me home?
Needless to say, such penetrating thoughts can deeply affect the way a person lives. If we knew we had a month or week to live, I suspect we would do many things differently. Undoubtedly, priorities would instantly shift to what is eternally urgent.
Contemplating this date and time—approaching with each tick of the clock—I realize an earthly demise is everyone’s reality. Am I fearful? Not really. Years ago, I heard a comforting saying that has stuck with me: “A Christian should fear death no more than he fears crawling into bed at the end of a hard day’s work.”
Do I have regrets? Absolutely. I have disappointed and hurt far too many people in my lifetime. Most importantly, I have repeatedly disappointed Jesus who sacrificed His life for me and Who commissions me to follow and imitate Him. That said, I have long since repented for my prodigal pigpen years, have tried to help equip and encourage as many people as possible, and have passionately pursued and diligently sought after God.
July 3rd, 2019 wasn’t the time for me to step into eternity. But going in, I trusted God’s sovereign timing and purpose. My hope was that this article would be a destined encouragement from beyond the grave. However, I was still here on July 4th, and I now have the opportunity to continue my passionate pursuit and diligent quest to become more like Jesus “until Christ is formed” in me (Galatians 4:19). I will take Him at His promise to reward those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6) and will be satisfied when I awake in His likeness (Psalm 17:15).
If you knew the specific date and time for your death, how would your life change? In reality, this destined appointment awaits everyone (Hebrews 9:27). Though shrouded in the unknown, it is already scheduled. I trust me sharing my dream encourages you to live differently.
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on natestevens.net.
Featured Image by Cassandra Hamer