Dreams: God's Forgotten Language? Part I
"I have received full payment and even more; I am amply supplied."1
Dreams. Do they have meaning and purpose? Does God still speak to people through them?
Technically speaking, dreams are the right or creative side of the brain communicating to the left or logical side of the brain. They are often visual symbols of what we are feeling deep inside. Clinical tests have shown that we all dream every night even if we don't remember what we have dreamed.
Dreaming is one of nature's ways to relieve tension. In one test, sleepers were monitored with electronic equipment to show when they were dreaming. As soon as they started to dream, they were awakened and the dream stopped. The test had to be discontinued after several nights as the people in the test were becoming too emotionally distressed.
Some dreams can be caused by an emotional upset; others by stress or physical pain. For several days following an operation on my Achilles tendon, which I snapped twice in three months, I kept dreaming over and over that I was falling and snapping my tendon. These were more like nightmares!
At other times dreams can be very insightful. For instance, some dreams have clearly shown me conflicts from childhood that I needed to resolve.
Repeated dreams that follow a theme—such as when we are trying to run from something but can't move, or when we are being chased but can't get away, or falling and can't catch ourselves—may indicate an unresolved fear or conflict from the past. It's nature's way of notifying us that we need to resolve some long forgotten memory.
But does God ever speak to us today through dreams as he did in Bible times?
I think so. On one occasion when my organization (ACTS International) was facing a severe financial crisis, I was feeling very afraid and discouraged, and fell asleep during my morning devotional time when I had a fascinating dream. In the dream I heard a voice that said very clearly, "Philippians 4:18 makes sense to me."
Immediately I woke up, opened my Bible to that passage and read the following: "I have received full payment and even more; I am amply supplied!" I had never memorized that Scripture verse so it didn't come from my memory bank! That certainly encouraged me and, by way of interest, we did survive that crisis.
Some dreams may be from God. Most aren't. However, the ability to dream is. And we have been given them for a purpose—at least to relieve stress and to gain insights for personal and spiritual growth. The difficulty can be in interpreting them correctly. However, through prayer and practice we can learn to do this and use them creatively.
To be continued ....
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank You for the ability to dream. Help me to recognize when my dreams are telling me that I have an issue that needs to be resolved, or a responsibility I need to take care of, and then lead me to the help I need to do this. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus's name, amen."
1. Philippians 4:18.