A good friend says he has bad dreams all the time—and often, they come true! He has dreamed about car accidents, injuries, deaths in the family. Soon after he dreams them, these very things have happened to the people he loves. How is this possible?
—Name withheld, via e-mail
Assuming your friend isn't just pulling your leg or embellishing his stories a little for dramatic effect, there are several possible explanations for his "amazingly" accurate dreams. Sometimes it may be truly just a coincidence. Other times, your friend may be subconsciously worried about something that is actually likely to happen in real life—such as an elderly relative passing away or a friend who's a reckless driver getting into an accident. That anxiety could show up in his dreams and feel like a foreshadowing or a prediction.
But could your friend's dreams be something more? Could God be speaking to him? Scripture includes many examples of God speaking to people through dreams in both the Old and New Testament. Usually these dreams were pretty significant events—instances where God had something very special to communicate. Often God sent these dreams as an urgent warning to his people to take specific action, but the dreams were never just to frighten them.
I think it's certainly possible for God to speak to us through our dreams today. Many believers report that at one time or another, they have found themselves inspired or encouraged or comforted or warned in a dream. Sometimes it seems God uses our dreams to prompt us to pray for specific people or circumstances. Does God appear to be leading your friend through his dreams? And is he inspired to have greater faith in God as a result?
It's important not to read too much into them or to live in fear of (or slavish obedience to) our dreams—or our nightmares. No matter what, your friend can rest assured that dreaming about bad things can't cause those things to happen to people we love. God hasn't given us that kind of power. And don't forget this most important and reliable source of guidance from the Word of God: "In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son" (Heb. 1:1-2).
Copyright © 2008 by the author or Christianity Today/Today's Christian magazine.
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