This afternoon a friend shared a dream about working in a quarry with pick and shovel while expending a great deal of energy in the process. But Jesus also appeared in the dream smoothing all the rubble on the ground with his bare hands!
He mused about the significance of the dream and a possible interpretation. I told him I didn’t think I had the gift of interpreting dreams, but perhaps it suggested that our own efforts to work things out in regard to recent difficulties in the church with which I am now working (and of which he is a part) are no match for God’s ability to smooth it all out, making it all right again, by the grace that comes through Jesus Christ. All things considered, I think his dream may be significant as I’ve suggested. I hope it is.
Dreams are an interesting phenomena that provide insight into spiritual realms with which we are quite unfamiliar otherwise. There are many biblical examples of dreams, along with their interpretation, that turned out to be prophetic revelations about real events in various people’s lives. Such was the experience of Joseph, Gideon and Daniel — to name a few. Dreams and their interpretations are a significant part of biblical revelation. In fact, God promised that dreams would be an important means of revelation through the Spirit to his people in the last days (Acts 2:17).
Recently, following a rather restless night in which I had a dream which was not particularly positive, I had occasion to think about the significance of dreams. I have always understood that dreams are extensions of a person’s conscious experience in daily life. In other words, it’s not uncommon to have night time “visions” arising from the sub-conscious part of our lives that come from various elements in our day-time consciousness. Personalities or experiences with which we have been associated during the day have a way of showing up in other circumstances in our dreams.
Sometimes our dreams are amazingly wholesome experiences that surprise us by their beauty, their altruism and holiness. At times we may find ourselves doing something exceptionally good for others, sharing the Good News of God’s grace in Christ, or leading someone to faith.
But other times, if we’re honest, our dreams are reflections of what we might think of as rather sinister and sordid behaviours. I have been surprised, at times, by the negative and undesirable elements that my dreams have produced. And there isn’t necessarily, it seems, a correspondence between what happens during my conscious, waking hours, and what happens in my dreams. And that leads me to believe that sometimes, my unconscious mind is the victim of spiritual, demonic forces that try to pull me into their evil schemes.
Thankfully, there are many other times in which my dreams appear to be the product of the supernatural ministry of the Holy Spirit at work in my life. Perhaps a good routine evening prayer is to ask for God’s grace to guard one’s mind and heart during the night, against the powers of evil.
It is certain that God has the power to use dreams in our lives for good. But the cogitations of our night-time, unconscious thoughts have a way of confirming, perhaps better than anything else, that we indeed are sinners in need of God’s saving and sanctifying grace.