“For we do not have a high priest unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.”
Hebrews 4:15

Before I met the Man in the Pool.

So, tell me… have you made your New Year’s resolutions yet? If my mother were alive, I know she’d have made hers by now and shared the details with her family. And then, within a few weeks, she’d have broken them all and we’d have a good laugh about it.

My mom meant well, but who can live a perfect life?

So, instead of making New Year’s resolutions for 2021 that speak to my own feeble efforts to be good, I’m going to do what I think makes more sense. I’m going to give my cares to Jesus because I know he cares for me (1 Peter 5:7). And if you’ll allow me, I’d like to share with you a dream I had once that illustrates the point.

I don’t necessarily attach great importance to dreams. But there have been times in my life when a dream has been more real to me than life itself, etched indelibly in my consciousness or, more accurately, I suppose, my subconscious.

I had this particular dream in my early 30s. When you become a follower of Christ at the age of 29, as I did, well… you can fill in the blanks about my behavior prior. Not very savory; I’ll put it that way. But Jesus saved me from my sins. And then, of course, I wanted to live like an angel.

Still, old habits die hard.

Who would save me from this body of death?

That’s when I had the dream that even today encourages me to “approach God's throne of grace with confidence, knowing that I’ll receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16 paraphrased).

In the dream, I found myself in what appeared to be a large swimming pool with warm (very comfortable) bubbling water up to my chest. Kind of like a hot tub, I guess, but it was the size of an Olympic pool. I could spot a few others in the pool with me. There was a net covering the entire surface preventing escape and a massive giant (kind of how I might picture Goliath would have looked) pacing back and forth around the pool to make sure no one escaped.

And I wanted to escape. I wanted desperately to get out of that pool! It was comfortable, relaxing, and enjoyable, just like the sins I had enjoyed in years gone by, but I realized I was a prisoner. The menacing stance and attitude of the giant made that abundantly clear. And the net had me trapped.

How could I escape? Who would save me from this body of death (Romans 7:24)?

And then, quite suddenly, I noticed a man in the pool with me, close by, a man about my age, 31 or 32 years old. His hair and beard were black, and he had Middle Eastern features. And the eyes… ah… I will never forget those eyes. They possessed compassion and empathy beyond anything I can describe. I knew he was there to help me. Help me escape the confines of the pool. It was as if he was in the prison with me but was not a prisoner.

Let Me Have My Son, now in production, explores our longing for freedom and restoration.

Mysteriously, the net over the pool was pulled away as though by an invisible hand. The giant went into attack mode and ran about the pool, making sure no one escaped. And then, the giant began to fall apart before my eyes, like some cheap toy, all his limbs breaking apart and falling at the edge of the pool. He was finished. I looked at the man beside me in the water. He smiled at me—again with a love beyond my ability to describe—and I knew I was free.

My New Year’s resolution is to honor the Man in the Pool as best I can. I still fail to walk the walk as I should, but the poignancy and power of that dream never fades.

Happy New Year, friends! May this be a year of freedom, reflection and redemption for us all.

Love in Christ,

Benny Whitmore, in Mexico for treatment of schizophrenia, tastes a tantalizing moment of freedom in a visit to the Velo de Novia.
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Cristóbal Krusen is a filmmaker and author. He founded Messenger Films in 1988.

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