Nicholas Negroponte is a man with an amazing dream to put a free laptop in the hands of every child, even in the most remote and impoverished regions of the world. His dream began in the remote village of Reaksmy, Cambodia with its dirt roads, no electricity or running water and 40 miles from the nearest town. His family had built a school, provided a solar-powered satellite, and given every child a free laptop so they could access the worldwide web. Soon there was absolutely nothing else going on that was as cool as school.
Back in the United States, Nicholas took a leave of absence from his job as a professor at MIT and founded the non-profit organization, One Laptop Per Child, (OLPC). His team of engineers and programmers set about designing and producing a laptop that was simple to use, powerful, and sturdy enough stand up to conditions in Third World countries; the result was a computer revolution called the XO; a seriously powerful laptop, impervious to dirt, sand, or water damage.
It appeals to children everywhere because it looks like a toy, with cute little ‘ears’ which are really radio antennas that give it two or three times the Wi-Fi range of most laptops. Batteries provide ten to twelve hours of use and can be recharged with a hand crank, and the screen can be viewed outdoors in full daylight. You could be in a hut in Timbuktu and as long as there is a solar-powered satellite receiver somewhere in that region, you would be able to access live coverage of any event, going on anytime, anywhere in the world.
So there I was watching this heart-warming story on an episode of 60 Minutes, and getting all emotional about “illuminating the lives of children and their families”. In some remote areas, the light from the screen on these laptops was often the only light in the house, and because of them, entire villages now had access to life-altering information, learning opportunities, and hope for a better life for their children.
Suddenly, without warning I felt a kind of jolt in my brain, as if something had clicked into place, so strongly I was scrambling to find my Bible so I could look up a story of another man who had a dream about the future, while he was exiled on an island called Patmos. His entire dream is recounted in the book of Revelation, but I was looking for something specific.
In the beginning of his book John writes:
“Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him…” Revelation 1:7 (Italics mine)
As clear as day, over nineteen hundred years ago, this disciple of Jesus Christ, describes an event where every person in the entire world, “in all the tribes of the earth”, would be able to view in real time, something happening thousands of miles away from their spot on the planet, even in Reaksmy, Cambodia.
Such a thing was not possible when my mother was born and not even conceivable when my grandparents, or great-grandparents were born, yet John saw it. His prophecy appeared implausible and even impossible for hundreds of years, until the invention of satellites, receivers, computers, and now laptops that can be powered with a hand crank. Once again, science and technology was playing catch-up with the Bible.
So there I sat watching Nicholas Negroponte who, it is very possible, has never even read the book of Revelation in all his life, describe his own dream, and his determination to see it come to pass.
“The human mind plans the way, but the LORD directs the steps.” Proverbs 16:9
Whether Mr. Negroponte knew it or not, his dream fit perfectly within John’s dream; a prophetic revelation he received about things that would happen towards the end of time. John was experiencing what was perhaps the loneliest and most discouraging time of his life; most of his friends had been tortured and killed, and he had been boiled in oil and then exiled on this barren island, so he was having a baaaaaaad day, week, year even, and had every reason to doubt all he had seen, heard, and believed. Then, on one of those very bad days he heard that familiar voice he knew so very well say,
“Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death. Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this.” Revelation 1:17-19
The revelation John was about to receive would blow his mind and ours, as he saw things coming in the future which he had no way to describe. For example, how would he describe Negroponte’s computer if he saw one in his dream, and when he writes about ‘locusts’ made of iron that had “tails like scorpions and there were stings in their tails”, (Revelation 9:9-10), is it possible he was trying to describe an Apache Attack helicopter? Poor guy! Nevertheless, you can be sure that when the dream was over and he set about writing down what he had seen, he wrote with renewed confidence, renewed hope and new confirmation of the truth he believed.
So here’s the thing, well, there are two things. First, God does not lie, so everything John saw and wrote down will come to pass, whether it seems impossible or not, whether we believe it or not, and whether we like it or not.
“…no purpose of Yours can be withheld from you.” Job 42:2
Second, dream your God-given dreams without fear or favor. Don’t let loneliness or discouragement stop you from hearing the voice of One who is “alive forevermore”. Embrace your purpose with confident hope and… just live the thing.