So those who have known me for quite some time might be reading this blog title and asking, “Why the sudden interest in dreams, Derrick?”
Where do I begin? Well to start, dreams are personal, thereby always fascinating to me. Looking back on my life, there are a handful of dreams I can recall that have given me clarity in the midst of confusion, and guidance at times of grief. I’ve had dreams where I hear beautiful melodies accompanied by profound lyrics, but when I wake up, I frustratingly pace around the house in my attempt to conjure up even one line of what I heard. In my dreams, I have witnessed visions for stories and set pieces for musical backdrops; in other words, I find inspiration to go on being creative. I’ve even felt the comfort and presence of God as I sleep. Lately, I find myself becoming more and more aware of my dreams, wondering what their significance is and the role they play in shaping who we are, or even in revealing our true selves and fears. This year, I wish to better explore my dreams, both the sleeping kind and those I long for in the waking life.
Second, dreams are theological. Throughout both the Old and New Testaments, God gives dreams to the likes of Jacob, Joseph, Isaiah, Mary and Peter. I understand they are not the norm in the pages of Scripture, but yet we hear modern stories about countless people who encounter God and see His Son in glory in their dreams. Perhaps this is what the prophet Joel meant when he famously wrote:
“And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.” (Joel 2:28-29)
What shall we conclude then? Are dreams of God? Are they demonic? Or are they figments of our mind? Well, I think they’re all three. God is God; therefore He can intervene and give us visions in the dream world of Himself to help us in the waking life. But I do believe demons can also influence us in some cosmic way I don’t quite understand but have no doubt felt. And yes, scientifically most of the time dreams are just jumbles of what we encountered in our day. But with all this, dreams and nightmares have been known (as Tim Keller and many other have pointed out) to reveal the hidden idols of our hearts, the sins we haven’t dealt with that need to be.
This brings me to my final point: dreams are universal. Everyone has the capacity to experience dreams because we all sleep at some point. This begs the question even further: why did God create beings with the capacity to dream? This, I aim to understand. God pours out His Spirit on those who seek and find satisfaction in Him, now what does that mean for us? How do dreams reveal the place God has (or should have) in our lives? May we all come to dream of it.