The dream first started in the midst of a spoiled fish stick induced fever. I was ten. It recurred during other fevers or linguistic finals induced stress. The dream is a nightmare because of the terror it pours on my soul.
Whether a dream is a nightmare or just a dream does not depend primarily on the events that occur in the dream, but on the emotion that the dream carries. A rabid midnight black grizzly may chase me for hours, but if I am not truly afraid of the grizzly, it is simply a dream.
In the recurring dream, there is no person but myself, no concrete object. There is only knowledge. Knowledge that I must do something, be something, and I absolutely, totally cannot. That's it. Some nightmare, eh? It is when I awake sweating and crying.
I must be righteous. It is beyond impossible.
The Corinthians were messing around with theology. Some of them tossed an idea up in the air "Hey, what if there's nothing after death?" Paul wanted the Corinthians to feel the terror of their logic: "If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain... And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins." 1 Cor. 15:13-17
I need the righteousness of Christ as a man who is floating on a plank in the ocean needs pure water and food, desperately.
"But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead... that God may be all in all" 1 Cor. 15:20-28
In light of this, I told my dream to take a hike.
"When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
'Death is swallowed up in victory.'
'O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?'
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain." 1 Cor.15:54-58