Dreams are strange things. I used to believe that they were just random constructs of a busy mind, not really meaning anything, something our brains “just did”. Over the last few years though, I’ve become more aware of my dreams. Not obsessively, but every now and again, I remember a dream, and feel sure it has a message for me. I suppose the most worrying thing about that is what the prophet Joel said about “old men dreaming dreams and young men seeing visions.” I’m not sure I’m ready to be an old man yet.
There are other scriptures too, Psalm 17:3 – “you have tried my heart, you have visited me by night, you have tested me and you will find nothing; I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress.” Our body sleeps, but our mind is still active. It seems that sometimes this is the only time that God can get a word in edge ways in our busy lives. God used dreams to direct the affairs of His people, and to warn and give instruction (see Joseph – being told that it was OK to take Mary as his wife, and to leave and flee to Egypt.)
Dreams can still be very confusing, and not really grounded in real life. Take the one I had a few days ago. Bear with me, because on first read, it really doesn’t make a lot of sense.
I was getting ready to play football for Brazil. (I told you this didn’t make sense) We were heading to the match, walking through the streets towards the stadium. It seemed to take a while to get there – almost as if the match wasn’t the destination. I saw the crowd grow in anticipation as we approached.As we got to the venue I stopped to put my socks on. Try as I might, I just couldn’t get my right sock on. I pulled and pulled, there was just no way that that sock was going to fit over my foot.
The game started without me. I was still sat outside the stadium, trying to get my socks on. Not part of the game. I began to question why I was even there. I wondered if any of this made sense. Why was I, a Scot, getting ready to play for a Brazil?
Around about then, I woke, and continued to analyse what I had just “seen.”
In real life, I had no “right” to be a part of the Brazil set up. To the best of my knowledge, I am Scottish through and through and yet I had been chosen to represent the team. As we walked to the stadium I was part of the team, accepted and included in all that was going on. I had been given all that was necessary to compete. All I needed to do was to use what I had been given, make sure it was ready before the adventure began.
If we have dreams that we don’t understand, it is ok to ask God what they mean. What is He trying to communicate to us? Is it just a message for us, or is it something to share with the wider church? Maybe it is both.
When we become Christians, when we are “signed” to a new team. We cease being a part of the old team and are fully integrated into the new. We are given a new outfit so as to be recognised as part of the new team. So too it is with us when we become Christians. We are instantly accepted as part of the team. We have all the resources necessary to be an effective Christian. We get to train with those that have already been in the team for a while, and they are eager to teach us everything they know.
The problem is, sometimes we forget to get dressed in the morning. We assume that we have most of the kit on, and we will be ready to take part when required. The problem is we can never be quite sure when we will be called on to represent the King. The person in front of you at the supermarket may need a word of encouragement. Your work colleague may be going through a particularly tough time and need a “word in season.” Your best friend may be sick and need healing. There is no time to get to a midweek meeting, spend three hours in prayer and worship, before rushing back to find the person in the queue has already finished shopping and has gone home.
We will have tasks and adventures to take part in for the team – and it’s a good idea to get ready – to practice some of the skills required before the game begins. Train with the team. Spend time with the “manager”, absorbing and accepting all He says about tactics, your importance in the team, and how to make sure that you don’t get left out.
Try praying for someone. Try telling a friend about why they should be part of the team too.
Get ready – we get to play with the best team in the world – let’s not miss opportunities available because we haven’t got our socks on yet.