Images, Visions and Dreams


One morning,  my 11-year-old daughter came downstairs visibly upset. When I asked her what was wrong, she told me about her bad dream.

“A cat with a long neck was pushing me around.”

Although I sympathized with her, the cartoonist in me immediately imagined a pushy, long-necked cat, and it struck me funny. Elisabeth was not amused, however, until I drew a picture of what she described.

Have you ever wondered why we dream? I don’t know all the reasons, and I haven’t done any research on the subject. But, drawing from my own personal experience, I think we can trace many of our dreams back to three different sources.

  1. Our own spirits are talking to us
  2. An enemy spirit is whispering to us
  3. God’s Spirit is speaking to us

Source 1: Our spirits

I’ve had this recurring dream. It’s dark, and I am in the back seat of a car going 60 miles an hour down the center lane of a crowded highway. The dream always begins in the same place–the  moment I realize that no one is behind the wheel. NO DRIVER

In a panic, I struggle to climb over the seat back, but I never make it into the driver’s seat. As I desperately grasp for the wheel, the car begins to veer, and I anticipate that I will soon hear the sound of a collision. Then I wake up.

I told my wife about the dream, adding that I don’t know what it means. She replied with a smirk,  “Jesus, take the wheel.”

Very funny.

OK, it might apply.

One thing is clear, my spirit is afraid of something, and that fear is being communicated as I keep reliving the same frightening experience.


Source 2: The enemy

In a very dark season of my life, I  played host to some unwelcome visitors that I called “the specters.” (If you are saying to yourself,. ‘This guy is unhinged,’ you don’t know the half of it.)

These weren’t ghosts but images representing people I knew. The figures I “saw” in my mind were always still and speechless. But they communicated condemnation. They formed a silent jury with a settled “guilty” verdict.

And hiding behind the cover of these images was none other than the accuser himself, hissing his own false condemnation.

Source 3: God’s Spirit

In another post (Up in Flames), I describe a vision I had of a raging wall of flames that I immediately understood to be the consuming fire of God’s holy love for me. FIREThis vision was an utter surprise to me. In response to my own private thoughts, the Spirit intruded into my imagination, flooded my spirit with warmth, and communicated to my mind a rational explanation for the vision.

For most of my life, I didn’t even  have a category for God’s direct, personal communication to me. But God has been teaching me that He says a lot more to me than I hear, and reveals a lot more than I see.

I am learning to pay better attention–even in my sleep.

How have your dreams spoken to you?










4 thoughts on “Images, Visions and Dreams

  1. Interesting post, Dave — and interesting timing. I’m writing a novel and, for the first time, I’m weaving a dream through the story. Why? The idea came to me throught the rewrites. I believe God uses dreams — just read the Bible and see how many times he communicated with people through dreams — and so I thought “Why not use a dream to convey an idea?”
    And now your post.
    You’ve done a great job explaining different types of dreams. I’ve experienced all three. And I believe it’s important to take the time and try to unravel the “why” of our dreams — the symbolism, what’s behind it.
    As always, love this post!

  2. Well, Beth,it seems like we’ve been riding the same train of thought, just in different cars. So, you have decided to do some dream weaving in your writing? That sounds like a very good story idea.
    Yes, I do believe God speaks through dreams. I didn’t always expect that He would ever speak to ME that way. I used to think the people in Bible encountered God, and I got to read about it. I’m rethinking that now 🙂 I agree that we should seek to unravel the “why” of our dreams.
    Thank you so much for your kind words of encouragement and for sharing your thoughts. I can’t wait to read your character’s dream. I bet it involves a long-necked cat 🙂

  3. Great post, Dave. I tried to stop by yesterday, but the hours got away from me. One dream I had in my early twenties was very definitely from God. I awoke with a vivid remembering of the events that happened. I asked God to tell me the meaning of the dream, and He did! It’s one of the few times it’s been that clear to me. He was giving me an answer to a question I’d been struggling with for a little while. His answer gave me the direction I needed.

    That being said, I’ve only had that experience a couple times in my life. 🙂 I love how you differentiated the sources of dreams. I hadn’t thought about some of them. 🙂 This was a fascinating post, Dave!

  4. Jeanne, I appreciate your comments. Thank you for opening a door to your own personal experience of God speaking to you in a dream and explaining to you it’s meaning. I connect with your experience. Let’s both try to stay awake to our dreams 🙂 I think God has more to say.

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