Years ago, when I lived down south, I lived in an apartment that had cockroaches. It was a clean building in a nice neighbourhood, but with the warm weather year round, there seemed to be roaches everywhere. Whenever we would come home after dark, I would see huge roaches clinging to the outside of the brick building. If ever I had to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, I would first turn on the light and peer in to make sure the coast was clear.
One night, I dreamed that I turned on the bathroom light, peered in, and instead of seeing a roach scuttling across the bathroom floor, I saw butterflies–a field of beautiful butterflies in my bathroom, with wings a foot tall, shimmering and beautiful. Of course, those wings were too big to be real–it was a dream after all. But when I woke up, I inmmediately knew that my dream was not really about roaches and butterflies. It was a dream about my life, how the things that I might dislike, or that make me anxious or fearful can be transformed by God’s grace into something fantastic and beautiful.
Was that simply wishful thinking? Or perhaps my own inner Polyanna? Say what you will, I understood my dream as God’s word of encouragement at a time when I needed it. My anxieties and difficulties would be transformed by God’s grace. Just as God spoke in a dream to Jacob, Joseph, and others in the Bible, I dared to think that God could speak to me in a dream too.
Your turn: Have you ever had a dream that seemed spiritually significant? How do you discern its meaning?