Know the Shepherd’s Voice
“My own sheep will hear my voice and I know each one, and they will follow me.” (John 10:27, TPT)
It’s important to know our Shepherd’s voice in every single season that we are in. Sometimes, when the season isn’t as pleasurable as we would like it to be, we choose to listen to God’s voice, the way that it was the previous season, or maybe a season that we enjoyed more. This is important to know during the Coronavirus global pandemic. While millions of people are in lockdown and in situations that they wish they weren’t, it still requires us to hear God’s voice for our specific season.
The problem is if we try to hear God’s voice in a way that we want to versus the way that he is talking to us, then we run the risk of being a selective listener to God in prayer. When we are a selective listener to God, it prevents us from hearing God’s entire heart for what his will is for our life. This can be seen when we are reading the Bible, and choosing specific Scriptures that we want to follow versus following all the Scriptures that God has called us to obey.
For me, this was a struggle during the pandemic and still is as we continue our lockdown. I have been accustomed to running as fast as I can, as hard as I can, for as long as I can, no matter what I’m doing. However, during this pandemic, the world has slowed down, travel has been stopped, activities have been stopped, and in countries like the Philippines, entire nations have been shut down for nearly a year at this point. So the way we live our lives and the things we do have completely changed.
In order for the Lord to talk to me, he had to go through a couple of layers of listening for me. The specific story I want to talk about now is a series of dreams that I received towards the latter end of 2020. Over the period of the Coronavirus lockdown, the Lord has been impressing into my heart how to love the person in front of you. Years ago, I was used to setting up campaigns and seeing a harvest of tens of thousands of people on a regular basis and working with hundreds of churches and leaders for the gospel. However, during the Coronavirus lockdown, everything was stripped from the Ministry and the only thing that remained were the disciples, and the people that were in front of you.
During this time, God was teaching me his adoptive fatherly spirit, and one of the ways he showed me this was through dreams. One of the ways that this happened was during lockdown. Me and Claudia were trying to find ways for our children to develop themselves, even though they couldn’t go out in public. In the Philippines, children and the elderly, along with pregnant women, are not allowed to leave their homes, meaning that children have been locked up for nearly a year now. We needed to stop any negative damage to our kids, so we decided to have our daughter learn ballet.
I remember she was showing me a dance that she was learning, and I took out my iPhone and started recording the dance. I remember looking at her dance moves and celebrating her, but I was looking into the phone instead of her. Then I continued with my day and did the type of ministry that we could do, which was all relief-oriented and continued my walk, but apparently, God was trying to teach me something that I was missing.
A Boy and His Elephant Dream
That night, I went to sleep, and I had a dream that I was at a resort. I was with some friends and some mentors, and we were on vacation, which for me, is as rare as a missionary. In this dream, God was showing me that I was on vacation with some of my leaders; then, from the side of my eye, I noticed a young boy, probably the age of eight or so and an elephant, and they were just standing there. In the dream, the boy was talking to the baby elephant, although it was still rather large, up to the boy’s head. When the boy was talking to the elephant, it seemed like the elephant was able to respond, but since I was on vacation, I didn’t really think about it too much, and it’s a dream also. I continued with my Sabbath, and in the dream, the scene switches.
I’m inside a hotel room, and I’m listening to my leaders talk, and I realized that they’re saying that we’re going to switch our resort and go to another resort for our vacation. Then I hear someone talking in the hallway. Again, it’s the boy and the elephant, but this time, I can actually hear what they’re saying. The boy is very young, and with a young boy’s voice, was saying, “Hurry up, we have to, we have to.” There was an urgency in his voice as he was repeatedly telling the elephant, “We have to go, we have to go before we miss it, and I don’t want to miss it.”
Now, I’m listening to this boy and elephant, who are hurriedly going to wherever they’re going and happened to be wherever I am on my vacation. I get to the new resort and the new pool and the new vacation, and I see the boy again, and this time, they’re running away in speed. I can hear the boys saying, “We’re gonna miss it, we’re gonna miss it, I don’t want to miss it.” The elephant is also very, very excited and urgent.
One of the things I feel from the boy is not so much this fear but this energy that he’s about to see something that he wants to see. He goes through the bushes beyond the pool. I started following the boy to see where he was going. I see the boy, and we’re at this open yard, and I’m not quite sure what it is yet. Then I see this older woman, dressed in black, who’s playing a classical song, and she’s telling everybody, “Listen to my music, listen to this music.“ There are people in the dream that are walking by. The women are dressed in a black hat and a black dress. She was playing this song from what looked like an old stereo, and nobody was paying attention, they’re all walking by. I could tell that the woman was getting sadder and sadder every time as no one cared about this song. Soon after, I heard the boy saying to the elephant, “Oh, now it’s going to start, it’s going to start. We need to get ready.”
Then the elephant sits down as if the elephant was like an audience for the boy. The song starts playing, and then it hits a certain part of the song or the verse or the introduction of the song, and then the boy gets into a dance position. He starts dancing to the melody of the song, and as I’m watching the boy, I realize that the song is very similar to the song that Ariela, my daughter, was playing for her dance. The boy starts dancing to the classical song, and I noticed that the boy is dancing alongside an actual cemetery. There’s a cemetery tombstone of another boy that looks exactly like him, who’s staring at the tombstone, cross-legged, and the same age, about six, eight years old or something. The boy is staring and listening to the music that the woman’s playing and is very sad.
The woman has given up her mission for somebody to care about this song, and so she leaves the song playing. Then she sits next to the son, it appears she’s a single mom, and they’re playing the song, and the boy continues to dance. This is happening on my left side, and then right across from their cemetery, there’s another tombstone, and my daughter is actually looking at the tombstone, and it’s a tombstone of our first two kids that were miscarriage. It’s a dream, so I could just kind of sense what’s happening. Ariela is sitting down exactly like the young boy is, cross-legged while this song is playing, and she’s looking at the tombstone. This song is playing, but it’s like the same song that she likes, almost very similar. Part of my heart and what I’m thinking about in my head is, “Oh, I wonder why she’s not responding at all.”
I see the boy dance the exact same moves that I recorded on my phone when Ariela was dancing in her class earlier in the day before I slept. I realized that the boy’s hand movement was exactly the same hand movements that my daughter was doing, except this time, I wasn’t looking at the boy with my phone; I was looking at the boy directly with my eyes. I looked back at Ariela, at the boy, our yard, and looked back to the boy. I walked in with Claudia and Faith, my other baby daughter. That’s when it really shocked me.
I was like, oh, I’m there, except in this, when I’m in the cemetery, all of us are disconnected from each other, and we’re all mourning and so sad about the two kids that we lost. So, the dance continues; then it starts hitting my heart. I look at the tombstone or look at the family next to me, the one with the woman dressed in black, and then also the younger boy. They pull out a picture of the boy that’s dancing, and his twin brother is the one sitting by the tombstone. That’s when it dawns on me that in the dream, it’s not necessarily a ghost, but it’s something like a spirit that’s showing me the storyline of this family. It’s making me realize that this is actually the dead twin brother of this family.
It’s actually a very powerful moment for me. Then I realized that this boy, this family, is longing to play this song that this boy learned to dance to, but the boy is dead. I’m looking at the mom; she will never get back her boy again. It’s almost like having an out-of-body experience. I see my daughter with the exact same song playing, but I’m not present, connected to her in her life. Even though I’m part of her development and her classes and the things that she’s doing, I’m not engaged in the way that the Father in heaven wants me to be engaged with my daughter.
Then I just look at the mom, and it’s almost like the Holy Spirit is talking to me, telling me, don’t miss out on what this mother wished she had. I knew that God was telling me, don’t miss out on the moments that you have with your daughter now or your family that you’re making. But instead, you’re going by it too fast.
At this point in the dream, I’m physically just crying like crazy in the dream. The song plays, and when the song ends, I see the elephant cheering and clapping for the son, the little boy that danced was so happy. It was like God was showing me a picture, like the elephant in the room; that was the idea that I saw. It’s like the elephant represented the elephant in the room, where the elephant shouldn’t be the one responding to the kid; it should be the dad or the mom. It should be the parent that is actually celebrating the kid.
The elephant is sent away as the boy finishes playing. He bows, and it’s the same bow that Ariela does in our class. I look at the cemetery I’m in, and we’re just dead and disconnected, looking at what we lost. So from behind me, I hear the resort, the vacation that I’m part of, and they’re calling out my name to come back. Then I come back, and I look behind me, then I look in front of me, and it’s an empty place. There’s no cemetery. It’s just a bunch of trees, and it’s like the boy and elephant are gone.
I come back to the vacation, and then then it goes into the next scene. I’m looking at my daughter, and it goes to the next scene where she’s actually in some kind of dance recital, and so she’s dressed up. She’s like four years old, but she’s dressed up in her ballet class, and she’s doing a solo dance. The song starts playing, and my natural instinct is to grab my phone and record it. But then, the song also reminds me of the lesson that God was teaching me in the dream – and this is still the dream. This is still reminding me of the situation with the boy and the elephant.
I remembered what God was teaching me, which was don’t miss out on what this mom or this parent wished she did when her boy was alive. So, now, I’m choosing to watch my daughter and really engage with the moment versus trying to record the moment, be part of the moment. Now, as a dad and a parent, I’m trying to make a connection with me and my daughter, me and my child. I noticed, in the dream – still a dream – she’s still looking at me, the way that I remember Ariela would look at me when she’s dancing. It’s like a daughter looking for the affirmation of her dad, wondering if her dad approves or is enjoying her and taking pleasure in what she’s doing and what she’s trying to accomplish.
I remember in the dream, instead of me rushing into my technology and my phone and all that; instead, I just slowed down and focused on her. She’s looking at me for the entire dance, and I’m looking at her, and I can tell that we’re connected. It’s like I’m not missing something. Anyway, she bows exactly as the boy does in the cemetery. It’s almost like when I’m watching her, I’m living out almost in the spirit what I experienced at the cemetery, where it’s almost like I get a second chance.
The dance ends. I’m clapping, and I’m standing up, and everyone’s clapping and standing up, but she’s looking directly at me, and it’s a big deal. We go to the parking lot, and then I buckle her in, and I’m affirming her the whole time and telling her how beautiful she was when she was dancing, how great she did when she did the dance, and then Arielle is like super happy. She has the best day of her life because her dad is paying attention to her. When I put her in the car seat, I looked at the end of the parking lot, and I saw the boy and the elephant, who are both waving at me. The elephant’s waving with its trunk, and the boy is waving his hand towards me. I’m looking at them, and I don’t really wave, but it’s like I almost acknowledge the fact that I know they’re there, even though I don’t know what they are, but it’s almost like in the dream. I realized that there’s a lesson I needed to learn, and now I think I learned it.
I came out of the dream, and I was completely crying, almost devastated by this dream. I found a song that reminds me of the dream, and I played it in the car over and over again or whenever I had some free time. Every time I played it, I always broke down crying, asking the Lord to give me a second chance with my family and my daughter to capture and make the moments of memory count. It’s almost as if I was the mom, and I lost my kids.
That happened for a week, a solid week, and it just kept on happening and happening, where I felt like the Lord was telling me this dream. However, it doesn’t end there…