Welcome to Big Old Goofy World . . . a place where I can share my thoughts, hopes, and dreams about this rock that we live on and call home.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

In the Space of a Dream

Jacob dreamed of angels descending and ascending from heaven on a ladder.  Jacob wrestled with God.  Joseph could interpret dreams getting himself in to trouble and saving his hide.  Another Joseph, Jesus' father, had a dream and fulfilled a prophecy.  Martin Luther King, Jr. proclaimed that he had a dream and a movement was born.  So why don't we believe that God speaks to us in dreams?

There are a lot of people out there who state that they do not dream.  Oh well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news . . . but we all dream.  We do.  Whether or not that we remember our dreams is a whole different matter.  Exhaustion from long days in life and work can make us oblivious to our dreams.  Medications that we might be taking can stymy our dreams.  And, some of us are just to lazy to admit that we dream.  The fact is, we all dream.

Now I realize that everyone has different ideas about dreams.  For some people dreams are a rehash of the activities that have taken place in a person's life.  For other people dreams are nocturnal adventures filled with spine tingling recaps of the day's activities . . . a sort of entertainment.  For others it is a confrontation of the day's activities . . . the shortcomings, the triumphant, and the failures.  For some it is a psychological battle between the ego and the Id;  and yet, for others, it is God speaking to them.  

I imagine there is great debate about whether or not God speaks to people.  There are those out there who firmly believe that God is way out there, watching over the human race, and pretty much having nothing to do with anything . . . particularly the human race.  But, who could blame God . . . watch the evening news . . . read the daily newspaper . . . there is not a whole bunch in the news that makes the human race attractive.  For these people, God is there but in a non-participatory role.  For others God is there . . . God is present, but only pops up when there is a need or a concern to be addressed.  Sort of the burning bush crowd.  When God sees a need, God speaks; but in this scenario, God is selective.  I noticed that when the lottery got up to a ridiculously astronomical sum, and my bank account was at a never-ending low balance . . . that God did not speak up and give me the winning numbers.  Maybe I should have bought a ticket . . . Of course with this crowd the voice of God is primarily a voice of gloom and despair of the end times.  The Y2K scare and Mayan calendar would be two of the more recent hearings of God's voice.  Considering the "signs" of the end that Jesus spoke about--famines, wars, etc.--that God probably would never stop talking if this were the only time God speaks.  Those signs have been prevalent in every generation from the beginning.  And, of course, there are those who will say that God speaks through prayer.  The bottom line is that there is rarely agreement about whether or not God still speaks, and if God does, how God does speak.  Sometimes it is a debate that puts Democrats and Republicans to shame.

I believe that God speaks.  God speaks to us in the space of a dream.  And, why wouldn't I believe that since the Bible is filled with examples of God speaking to the people in dreams.  I know that this is true because God has spoken to me through my dreams.  Granted the voice of God has never been crystal clear when speaking to me through my dreams . . . more like crackling, distant radio station trying to come through . , , and, that could be because the voice of God in my dreams--and the dreams of others--is filled with symbolism, myth, and storytelling.  God likes to talk in metaphors, irony, and great humor.  It takes a little effort and time to truly discern the voice of God through dreams . . . to discern the message; but, God does speak.  Over and over again, I have been amazed at the power of God's voice in my life through the space of a dream.  God speaks . . . 

. . . but, we rarely listen.  It is human nature.  We have selective hearing . . . we hear what we want to hear and disregard the rest . . . even the voice of God.  Sadly, that is one voice we should not ignore . . . particularly when it is God who has our best interests in mind.  God never did shut up . . . we just quit listening.  Which is a shame and counter-intuitive when we consider the Apostle Paul's urging the followers of Jesus to be conscious of God's presence at all time . . . twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.  He calls it praying without ceasing.  At least that is how I interpret Paul's words.  Prayer is putting one's self in the presence of God . . . making one's self aware of God's presence.  Sometimes it is words, but more often than not it is with feelings . . . but, how does one do this when one is sleeping?  Dreams.

What I am sharing only scratches the surface of dreams as a means of God speaking to us.  Trust me, this conversation is much deeper and broader than I can share in a few paragraphs.  Nor is what I am sharing intended to settle the argument about whether or not people dream (they do) or whether or not it is the voice of God that fills our sleeping minds as dreams.  It is only to tease the reader into at least considering the possibility of dreams as a viable means of God communicating with us.  It is to begin a discussion.

Dreams are real . . . a few years ago I was moved when singer/song writer Billy Joel admitted to the power of dreams with one of his songs.  Though he is not quite sure about whether or not the dreams are the voice of God, he definitely admits that there is a message in the dreams.  The song, In the Middle of the Night, I think I will let his words finish this discussion about dreams:

In the middle of the night
I go walking in my sleep
From the mountains of faith
To a river so deep
I must be looking for something
Something sacred I lost
But the river is wide
And it's too hard to cross

And even though I know the river is wide
I walk down every evening and I stand on the shore
And try to cross to the opposite side
So I can finally find out what I've been looking for

In the middle of the night
I go walking in my sleep
Through the valley of fear
To a river so deep
And I've been searching for something
Taken out of my soul
Something I would never lose
Something somebody stole

I don't know why I go walking at night
But now I'm tired and I don't want to walk anymore
I hope it doesn't take the rest of my life
Until I find what it is that I've been looking for

In the middle of the night
I go walking in my sleep
Through the jungle of doubt
To a river so deep
I know I'm searching for something
Something so undefined
That it can only be seen
By the eyes of the blind
In the middle of the night

I'm not sure about a life after this
God knows I've never been a spiritual man
Baptized by the fire, I wade into the river
That runs to the promised land
In the middle of the night
I go walking in my sleep
Through the desert of truth
To the river so deep
We all end in the ocean
We all start in the streams
We're all carried along
By the river of dreams
In the middle of the night

In the space of a dream . . . God speaks.

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