When God Interprets our Dreams
by Kaitlin Miller
When we talk about dreams, two kinds tend to come to mind – the dreaming that happens in unconsciousness during the night, and the dreaming that happens in consciousness during the day. We tend to have very different associations with both, but what if the Lord actually ties them together more closely than we think, so long as He is sought out and centered in them both?
It is astounding to consider the role of sleeping dreams in the Old Testament to usher in major decisions, prophecies, and insight. God gives a night dream to Abimelech to reveal that Sarah is Abraham’s wife (Genesis 20), to Jacob to send him back to the land of his father (Genesis 31), to Joseph to reveal his future position of authority (Genesis 37), to Pharaoh to be warned about a famine coming in the land (Genesis 41), to Gideon to foretell the Midianites’ defeat (Judges 7), to Solomon to invite his request for godly wisdom (1 Kings 3), to Nebuchadnezzar to prophecy about the future of world empires (Daniel 2), to Joseph to command that he and Mary leave Egypt and later return to Israel (Matthew 1–2), and even to Pilate’s wife to confirm the truth that this man Jesus, whom they would crucify, was innocent after all (Matthew 27).
Before understanding came from any of these, it is clear that the only true interpretations of dreams belong to God alone (Genesis 40:8) and to whomever He reveals them, as they still do today. In their human understanding, those dreams would have seemed to be nothing more than strange movie scenes involving human-like solar systems, bread tumbling down a hillside, multi-toned striped statues, and cows who ate each other by a river – none of which, for the record, being the kind of movie I would be particularly interested to see.
Like all things in life, they made no sense until God Himself made sense of them.
Our second use of dreams is typically in reference to the things we imagine, plan, and long for in our conscious waking hours – what we desire for our present and hope for our future, tapping into the creativity and wonder of our very souls. But to be truly understood and trusted, what if our dreams in the waking hours are just as dependent on God’s interpretation as those we have at night?
I have harbored countless desires that I hoped would be fulfilled in the outcome I saw to be the best fit. There have been circumstances I thought were signs pointing to a calling that turned out not to be mine. There have been relationships and opportunities I believed to be intended just for me that did not come to fruition. There have been areas of study and work to which I thought I wanted to dedicate my life that I discovered I did not. And through each seeming disappointment turned to praise, He has reminded me that although we plan our course – perhaps even form our dreams around those plans – it is the Lord who determines our steps (Proverbs 16:9).
What if we poured out to Him our dreams, feelings, desires, longings, and hopes, confessing that, in honesty, we are deeply tempted to believe we understand what they mean and what they point to and what would be best for us? And what if we were to follow up that confession by proclaiming the truth – to Him and to ourselves – that we know His thoughts are not our thoughts, and we believe His ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9)?
Perhaps as we did, He would gently pry open our stiff and weary hands, clenched so tightly over all we are desperate to grasp and scared to lose, enabling us to hold all those dreams loosely before Him in surrender and trust, asking Him to add, remove, change, and direct them however He deems best, believing He will do so for our own good and for the glory of His name and His Kingdom, which alone will last forever.
Let’s tell Him that we trust Him. Let’s ask Him to interpret our dreams for us. And let’s follow wherever He leads. It is the only way He can fulfill all He has prepared for us who love Him – that which no ear has heard, nor eye has seen, nor mind has conceived (1 Corinthians 2:9), but that is abundantly more than all we ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). Because those are the dreams we most deeply want to come true.
Praise God. His dreams for us are so much more grand, majestic, exciting, fulfilling, adventurous, and beautiful than those we could ever dream for ourselves. And it is He alone who holds the power and promise to fulfill them.
Kaitlin lives in Atlanta, GA where she serves as a hospitality trainer for the Chick-fil-A Home Office and as a doorholder for Passion City Church. She is most thankful for Jesus, people, coffee, Christmas, and opportunities to share about the truth and love she's found in the abundant life with our Savior.