Does God Speak in Dreams Today?

I occasionally remember dreams I’ve had but Jo never does—except for one notable time in the Canela village.

One afternoon our whole family was having a swim in the creek just outside the village. I left first and our 10-year-old daughter Leanne decided to leave a minute later sprinting up the trail to catch up with me. As she rounded a bend, she nearly ran into a long grey stick propped between bushes about waist high, barring the trail. Oh, daddy is having fun with me, she thought, as she grabbed the stick to clear the path. Instantly the long grey snake wrapped itself around her arm and bit her.

She screamed, shook the snake off her arm, and raced back to the creek crying, “A snake bit me! A snake bit me!

When Jo heard Leanne scream, she instantly remembered dreaming this scene the night before—a dream she had forgotten. “It was like God was telling me, ‘Don’t worry. Be calm. I know all about this snake,’” Jo said later. She soothed Leanne and led the girls home. It did turn out alright; the snake either was not poisonous or God intervened and saved her.

What is it with dreams?

The Bible mentions dreams or visions over 220 times. Matthew begins his story of Jesus by telling of Joseph’s four dreams: 1) It’s okay to marry Mary. 2) Take your family to Egypt. 3) Go back to Israel. 4) Go live in Galilee, and one dream of the Wise Men: Go home without telling Herod about Jesus. Five dreams in the first thirty verses!

People took dreams seriously back in those days.

Even today, many non-western people take dreams seriously. Large numbers of Muslims in Iran are turning to Jesus. One third of these testify that a dream about Jesus telling them, “I am the way to God” had prepared them. This astounds people like me who explain vivid dreams by blaming the spicy food we ate the night before.

Dreams don’t astound Canela people. A popular early morning greeting is, “What did you dream?” One of our Canela friends and helpers started getting drunk on sugar cane rum every time he went into town. The Canelas elders’ council lectured him and shamed him but nothing helped. We prayed for him for years. One day we returned to the village from a two-month-workshop in the city and he told us he had stopped drinking after having a dream.

“’Do you want to stop drinking?’ a man up in the sky asked me. I told him I did. ‘Every morning take a large cup of cold water, go outside, look into the sky, think about me, and drink it down in one long swallow.’ I have been doing that for two months. One day in town someone offered me a drink of cane rum and when I smelled it I ran outside because I nearly vomited.”

Why don’t we westerners, and Christians especially, dream God dreams? Is it because we don’t believe in dreams and therefore don’t have them? Or do we, but we aren’t comfortable telling anyone about them? Are we missing out? Have any of you readers had God oriented dreams? Want to tell me some?

2 thoughts on “Does God Speak in Dreams Today?

  1. Hi Jack,
    I absolutely believe God speaks to people in dreams, despite the fact that I live in the UK. During my teens I had a dream one night that my mother died. It was so vivid and I woke with a feeling of calm acceptance. 6 months later she was diagnosed with cancer, and a year after my dream she died.
    On another occasion, I dreamt one September that my father had re-married, despite not even knowing if he was in a relationship. I told my brother who thought it was an odd dream. The following summer, we visited my father. He told us he had got married the previous September, but hadn't told us.
    On both occasions, I felt already prepared for things that were difficult to deal with, because God had warned me and given me the strength to cope.

  2. I've had two dreams that really stand out in my memory. One was dreaming of my (perfectly healthy) mother in Intensive Care all hooked up to life-support equipment. And in the dream I tried to tell her that I loved her, but it was too late. She was in a coma and couldn't hear and I woke up with the inconsolable grief of it being too late. All day I carried that sadness with me and it prompted me to write a letter to her, uncharacteristically, letting her know how much I appreciated her. I sent the letter off. A week later my dad called informing me that my mother was in ICU in a coma–she had gotten the flu and it turned suddenly into pneumonia. I flew out there to be with her and found her unresponsive–in a coma. Exactly like my dream. She never came out of the coma–dying a month later. Amazingly, the letter I had sent had reached her while she was still living. I was so humbled by God's love to nudge me through a dream to write.

    The second was some weeks after our 18-month-old daughter had suddenly died. One day I had such a deep, aching longing to hold her again–and I cried many times to God, "Oh God, I can't stand the pain–I so badly need to hold her again".." That night I dreamed I held her. It was unlike any dream I've had before. It was so real that I have a hard time calling it a dream! God was handing her to me and I took her and felt her warmth and her weight in my lap and I could hug her and kiss her. Then he took her away. The unusual thing is that when I woke up I felt such joy at what happened, that I wanted to celebrate! All day I felt only happiness and lightness. Another result of that dream is that that intense longing to hold our daughter never returned. That was a dream that totally satisfied.

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