Dreams - part 2

Sometimes I ask myself whether God speaks through dreams. Certainly, we have accounts of God speaking to Belshazzar the king in Daniels, we read of the prophetic dreams Joseph "the dreamer" had, the dreams he interpreted for Pharaoh's servants, and even in the New Testament, the wise men were warned in a dream to go back to their country via a different route to avoid Herod, who wanted to kill Jesus.

Although I'm sure God still speak in dreams, in visions, through signs and miracles, it is sort of worrying and suspicious when someone is always claiming to be hearing directly from God. I was given a book after my baptism called "Conversations with God" - it reads as a Q&A not unlike the conversation the humans in Prometheus hoped to have with their "Engineers". Though certain sections correlated well with the Bible, and it was very appealing to have direct "answers" from God on the difficult questions of life, it probably didn't belong in a Christian bookshop. Also, after hearing a few psychiatric patients speak of bizarre end of the world theories, claiming to be special persons in God's plans, we have reasons to be extra cautious.

The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. - 1 Kings 19:11-12

When we make a decision, want to understand our purpose, when we want to know whether God is really there or not, we want something spectacular, extraordinary, and preferably instant. "God, show yourself to be real!" or "what choice do you want me make?" I had asked, and was often disappointed with the lack of dreams, writings on the wall, special encounters, or even a warm tingly feelings inside. Oh well.

God can choose to come in powerful earthquakes and blazing fires, but he can also speak gently and quietly, in ordinary ways. Ordinary is not better (or worse), but it is often what we neglect when we want to hear from God. Maybe because it's not very impressive, and takes long term effort on our part to diligently read the word, understand the Bible, pray, attend church, fellowship with others, seek counsel, have God as our priority in everyday things, and live in constant obedience to him. Yet, the ordinary ways are what we can reliably turn to every day, and what we need to be familiar with to recognise God's voice should he choose to speak through dreams and visions. And it is also what we need to run far away from false voices.

When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” - John 10:4-5


joe said...

i've always wanted to comment on this post. i'd be very interested to see you lead a cell group discussion, i think you would do very well :)

Winnie said...

I've only actually lead a cell group a couple of times so far. I wouldn't say it's one of my strengths. I articulate my thoughts a lot clearer in writing than in speaking to a group :P


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