By Femi Aribisala
In 2003, Femi-Kevin’s headmaster sent me an email forecasting that he would fail his GCSE exams because he had done so badly in his mock exams. I wrote an angry response and asked him: “Are you God? How are you so sure he would fail? Is it because he is black?” After he took the exams, God did something strange. Before his results came out officially, he showed them to me in a dream; subject-by-subject and grade-by-grade. The results were excellent: Femi-Kevin got so many “A” grades.
The next day at the dinner-table, I announced to everyone that I had seen Femi-Kevin’s GCSE results. They thought the results had come out. But I told them they had not; nevertheless, had God revealed them to me. Then I gave them the details. Six weeks later, Femi-Kevin’s results were officially released. Guess what? They were exactly as it had been shown to me.
God reveals things of his choosing to us in dreams. This is part of the privilege of walking with him. Job says God uses dreams to “open the ears of men.” (Job 33:16). He also uses them to give us invaluable understanding of his works. What we learn from dreams enable us to pray constructively in order to prevent imminent evil. Alternatively, it enables us to pray in order to ensure that God’s will is done in our lives.
Dreams can give us valuable insight of what is happening in the realms of the spirit. Indeed, we can pray to God for such revelations because the spiritual state is the true state of everything. You may want to know spiritually the man who is proposing marriage to you. You may want to know the spiritual character of the house you just moved into. You may want to know the reason why there is a big mountain in your path. God often answers such prayers through dreams.
Remember this: God is the one who tells us what we need to know but cannot know naturally. Thus, Jesus said to Peter: “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 16:17).
Some will tell you if the dream is frightening, it is not from God. This is not necessarily true. God occasionally terrifies us with warnings in dreams. (Job 33:16). He uses them to wake us up when we are complacent, too relaxed and are not paying enough attention to him. He uses them to make us face disturbing truths about ourselves. Accordingly, Job laments: “When I say, ‘my bed will comfort me, my couch will ease my complaint,’ then you scare me with dreams and terrify me with visions, so that my soul chooses strangling and death rather than my body.” (Job 7:13-15).
The fact that you saw someone in a dream does not mean the dream is about him.
God also scared Nebuchadnezzar in dreams. He said: “I saw a dream which made me afraid, and the thoughts on my bed and the visions of my head troubled me.” (Daniel 4:5). This did not happen because Nebuchadnezzar was demon-possessed. It happened because God wanted to impress an urgent message on him. Similarly, God troubled Pilate’s wife in a dream in order to warn Pilate not to participate in the persecution of Jesus. She said to her husband: “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.” (Matthew 27:19).
However, most scary dreams are not from God. Hidden areas of our subconscious mind; things we see, watch or hear; areas of anxiety; these can all produce frightening dreams. Some dreams provide avenues for tormenting demonic spirits to harass us and rob us of our inner peace and joy. The antidote for this is prayerfulness and spiritual fervency. God says: “Awake, awake, O Zion, clothe yourself with strength. Put on your garments of splendor, O Jerusalem, the holy city. The uncircumcised and defiled will not enter you again.” (Isaiah 52:1).
Soulful dreams are produced by the natural processes of our mind, will and emotions. When we think, not all our thoughts originate from the Holy Spirit. Therefore, when we sleep, the natural mind continues to process our natural thoughts. As a matter of fact, when we are preoccupied with something or someone, it shows up in our dreams: “For a dream comes through much activity.” (Ecclesiastes 5:3). King James calls this a “multitude of business.” Accordingly, God warns: “(Don’t) listen to your dreams which you cause to be dreamed.” (Jeremiah 29:8).
Since our spirits never sleeps, if you sleep in front of a television, you are likely to dream what is showing in it. Dreams are often the product of our subconscious mind revealing to us our deepest, innermost thoughts. (David) says: “my heart also instructs me in the night seasons.” (Psalm 16:7). If you spend the day watching horror films, you might have a horrific dream at night. During times of intense spiritual warfare, you may also dream about situations involving dark forces of the enemy.
The human mind is a dream factory. Therefore, be careful not to put too much reliance on dreams for the primary way that God talks to us in these last days is by his word: “For in the multitude of dreams and many words there is also vanity.” (Ecclesiastes 5:7). By the same token, don’t allow yourself to be derailed by the dreams of others: “Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are in your midst deceive you. For they prophesy falsely to you in my name; I have not sent them, says the LORD.” (Jeremiah 29:8-9).
Since what we dwell on during the day often appear in our dreams, it is important to spend our waking hours meditating on the right things. God counsels that we should procedurally meditate on the scriptures: “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” (Joshua 1:8).
As we digest relevant scriptures during the day, our minds will continue during the night to assimilate the truths we have imbibed. The psalmist says: “I remember your name in the night, O LORD, and I keep your law. (Psalm 119:55). As a matter of fact, we can even meditate on the scriptures by listening to them and dreaming about them while we are sleeping.
Significance of dreams
A lot of what we dream about others is first and foremost for us. Jesus counsels: “First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:5). A dream that your fiancé is unfaithful does not necessarily mean he is. It might simply be dealing with your fears and insecurities. The fact that you saw someone in a dream does not mean the dream is about him. It is customary for dream-characters to “borrow” the faces of others. Therefore, don’t be quick to impose your dreams about others on them.