A friend of mine had a wonderful dream some years ago. As he slept, his subconscious imagined him walking along a wide chasm with vertical sides and no means to cross. The footpath was safe enough, but like all of us he was drawn to the edge of the gorge.
Up ahead he noticed a peculiar sight. There seemed to be something yellow billowing just at the overhang of the cliff. Intrigued, he strode ahead to take a better look.
Soon he noticed that it was actually a tent made of yellow fabric. Most fascinating, however, was that it appeared to be hanging in space immediately beyond the limits of terra firma.
As he came close, a man emerged from the tent and greeted him personally, like a dear friend. He knew he recognized the man, but he was unable to remember how or why, or even the man’s name. So he played along, fudging his way through a seemingly familiar round of greetings and pleasantries.
The man noticed that my friend was glancing often toward the tent, still amazed at what kind of contraption this might be. “Do you want to try it?” the man asked.
“What do you mean?” my friend responded.
“Well, just come on in,” the man said, and stepped into the tent, pulling my friend along.
The floor of the tent was as yellow as the rest, and felt spongy as they went in. My friend dreamt that he was very nervous, and almost pulled back. But the man radiated confidence and drew him along.
As they moved into the tent it bobbed and swayed a bit, and my friend stumbled against his guide. The man steadied him however, and soon my friend got his “sea legs,” or whatever it was that one needed to walk easily on this strange surface.
Then they began to fly. My friend didn’t know how it was possible, or what propelled the tent along. All he knew is that they were flying and soaring and gliding and sailing. It was awesome.
Quickly my friend lost his fear. Then his curiosity needled him until he had to ask, “How does it fly? What makes it go?”
Instead of answering directly, the man said, “Would you like to try it?’
“What do you mean?” responded my friend.
“Just think about where you would like it to go,” came the reply.
So he did. At first there were some jolts and abrupt shifts and dizzying ups and downs, but soon he got the hang of it. They were flying, and he was piloting the tent!
After what felt too short a time but could well have been many dream hours, the man guided the tent back to its place along the cliff. But my friend was not yet ready to relinquish the freedom of the craft, nor his power to control it. So he scuffled with the man, and threw him out onto the cliff. “There!” he cried in victory. “Now I can go wherever I want!”
Immediately, however, the tent began to collapse in on itself and started to plummet into the abyss. No matter how my friend tried to think and force his will on it, the craft dropped like lead.
In spite of his urgent fear my friend knew instantly who the man was. It was Jesus!
“Help me, Jesus!” he cried.
Immediately Jesus was in the tent with him, and it billowed out and steadied. The fall ended as quickly as it had begun, and they were flying again.
“What happened, Lord?” my friend asked. “Why couldn’t I make it go?”
“My child,” said Jesus, “didn’t you understand that all along I was its energy and its guide? I wanted you to share the flight with me, but it was always propelled along by my will.”
So it is wherever we might find ourselves. Unless Jesus is at the center of it all, no craft will convey us along safely. Years ago, Barry McGuire, whose early musical successes landed him in the gutter of multiple addictions and horrible broken relationships before Jesus found him and picked him up, wrote a song called “Cosmic Cowboy.”
He pictured flying with Jesus like this:
I met a cosmic cowboy ridin’ a starry range
He’s a supernatural plowboy, and he’s dressed-up kinda’ strange
At first I didn’t see him being out there on the run
Yeah, but that ol’ hat that he’s wearing is shining brighter than the sun
And when my eyes adjusted to the flashing of his smile
I saw his invitation. He said, “Come on, Barry! We’ll go riding for a while!”
We rode along together for more ‘n half-a-day
Right through the changing weather, sky was all turned gray
Chilly winds were blowin’ and oh, the cold was cuttin’ deep
And then it started snowin’, trail was getting’ steep
I was just about to turn around, head back the way we came
Somehow, without a sound I heard him call my name
And looking up, I saw that we were high upon this ridge
And he took me by my arm and led me right over to the edge
Hey, I was so scared I couldn’t find a single word to say
You know, there’s ten-thousand feet of empty air, and it’s just about an inch away!
But a billion miles was out beyond the waving of his hand
I was looking through his eyes right into another land
He said, “This is my father’s ranch as far as you can see
He made it out of nothin’, every branch and every tree
The stars, all the mountains, the rivers and the streams
The oceans and the fountains, the valley of your dreams
I know that place you’re lookin’ for, that place you long to be
Truth is, I’m the only door; you’re going to have to pass through me
Bending back, I tipped my hat to look him in the eye
But he just smiled, and gave me confidence to go ahead and try
It was now-or-never and I knew I had to start
So I took that step, and I went fallin’ straight in through his heart
The first thing that I noticed coming out the other side
Hey, all my fears had vanished! He taught me how to fly!
At CLC we are in the business of teaching leaders to fly with Jesus.