With Deepest Sympathy and Fatherly Love

I had another dream. This time, my son was in it. In the dream, I was going through some items — I think they might have been books and they were in a box. There were some obscure items that were in that box, and one of those items was some type of note or vow, as it were — you might say, a record of a promise or commitment made.

Now imagine if God kept a detailed record of all the promises that we have ever made. And I’m not just talking about promises made which we fail to keep. No, I’m talking about vows, or inner vows, or commitments, or things we’ve said that were not right.

Now imagine if God kept a record of all that stuff.

Jesus said,

“But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment.” (Matthew 12:36)

Ouch.

Now back to the dream.

In the dream, I was there with my son, and there was that box with that paraphernalia in it. They were books (I think), and, like I said, there were also some records in it.

Now backtracking a little, I wonder — yes, I really do wonder — if the books that I saw — those musty, rusty, dusty, books — maybe those are the books that God keeps His records in. Yes, come to think of it, that’s probably what I saw.

“And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.” (Revelation 20:12)

So there you have it. There really are books. And it’s not just one book, as we see in the above passage. It’s books — with an ‘s’. Look at those books! Books were opened. And then another book was opened. I don’t know if I’m really going to get to talk about that other book, right now. I’ve got too many books to think about! But suffice to say, there are books, and there is this one book, the book of life!

And what of those books (the plural ones mentioned above)? You can see what it says right there in that passage. It says — as if this needed repeating (it just might): “and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.” So that’s what those “books” are all about! They are about judgment. They are about recording those things which we have done — either good or bad, and I’m afraid to say that I really think there are a lot of downright bad things that have been done that are recorded in those books! And those books that I saw in my dream — well, I think I saw them, anyway, but the focus really was on this one note, which I’ll get to later — what was in them? I don’t know. Were my bad deeds all recorded in them, after all these years? Did not God wipe them clean? Did I not procure forgiveness for the things which I have done, which have been impure, idolatrous, filthy, and all that stuff? I wonder, what exactly was written in those musty, rusty, dusty, books?

“As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:12)

“They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the LORD, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” (Jeremiah 31:34)

So there you have it. God says He will remember their sin no more.

What indeed is written in those books? To whom does this “their sin I will remember no more” apply? Do I qualify? I hope so!

But in the dream, they were there.

Maybe, just maybe, I did not repent from some of those wicked deeds. Is it possible? Surely, you know, it is possible. I wish it were not so, however. I wish I was clean. I wish I was perfectly clean. But God, He knows the truth. He knows if I have repented or not! He knows … the truth! And there is NO ESCAPING GOD ON JUDGMENT DAY! For that day will SURELY COME! Like a fire, like a raging fire, and like a thief in the night, HE IS COMING! AND EVERY EYE SHALL BEHOLD HIM.

“Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.” (Revelation 22:12)

“If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth” (1 Peter 1:17)

“but they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.” (1 Peter 4:5)

“I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom” (1 Peter 4:1)

You get the picture. I hope.

He’s coming back. He’s going to judge the world in righteousness. You and I are both included.

And, to make matters worse … there are books. Yes, there are indeed books. C’mon, you didn’t read the above passage? There are books, and this is not a dream, even though I started telling you about my own dream! So what’s the point, anyway? God is loving and compassionate — He is also a judge. He is the perfect judge. In fact, if He was not loving and compassionate, He would not be the perfect judge; He would just be like me, or you, or any other human being, who judges imperfectly. But God is not like that. When He judges, He considers all the factors. But one factor seems a little greater than all other factors combined. That factor is, what have you done with the Son of God, Jesus Christ? To trust Him is to bring into the picture the source of salvation for all of those many sins that have been written down in those books. Jesus Christ can do that, He can forgive your sin. There is indeed forgiveness for the one who admits that they need forgiving. But for those who will not admit it, there can only be a terrible expectation of judgment. In my own case, in the dream, my son said to me the following words. He said something like this:

“Dad, I need to remind you, that you forbid me to ….” (and I honestly cannot remember what I forbid him to do in the dream; that’s as far as I can remember).

Now how compassionate is God? This is what I would like to know. The answer, I think, is something like this: He is as compassionate as need be for those who desire compassion and who are willing to admit they need God’s forgiveness. Now I don’t claim to be a champion at understanding all these things, but one thing I do know, is that when in the dream my son said to me that I forbid him to do such and such (of which I cannot remember what the such and such is) — at that point, I reached down into that box containing those rusty, musty, dusty old books — possibly a record of my sins from a long time ago, stuff that I might not have even remembered, even as I could not and cannot now remember what it was that my son was reminding me about — when I reached down and grabbed that note, there was an aura of complete forgiveness in the air.

At that point, as I held the piece of paper high, I recognized my sin, and on that paper was a record of my sin, I acknowledged my sin in my heart, and understood that I had acted rashly towards my son in forbidding him to do such and such — you put in your own “such and such” here, and maybe it’s not your son, but your daughter, your friends, your spouse, or someone else. As I held that note up high, I saw a hand write the following message over that note. You would think that the message was inscribed by me, but was it really? It did not seem to be. It seemed like it was not my hand penning those words. It seems like it may well have been the hand of God wiping out my sin, as I acknowledged it in my heart. For this is what the message read (these words are approximate, but they are all I can remember):

“With deepest sympathy and fatherly love.”

Wow.

Just writing those words down brings a tear to my eye.

That’s because God really is like that. He’s tenderhearted, merciful, loving, and compassionate, towards those who will receive His mercy.

But how was it done? It all occurred in the context of confession of sin and acknowledging my guilt before God. It’s how you “get right with God.”

Are you right with God? When the books are opened, what is going to be found there? Good, bad, evil, ugly? What will your response be?

It was wonderful to see those words written over that paper that was a record of what I had (incorrectly) said to my son. The words were a stamp of God’s forgiveness and wiping the slate clean.

“With deepest sympathy and fatherly love.”

My prayer for you is that God’s deep sympathy and fatherly love will be made known in your heart. If it takes confession, I pray that you will confess. And if you think you need no confession, I pray that you might be humble enough to admit that there just might be a few things that need to be confessed, even secret things that you may not be aware of — hidden sins, as it were.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.”

(Psalm 139:23-24)