By Bob Lupton It was a dream that quieted Joseph’s troubled soul. A Divine voice revealed to him that his fiancé Mary was pregnant by heavenly design, not through human infidelity. He should proceed with their wedding plans. It was in a dream that God told him to get Mary and the baby out of Bethlehem under the cover of night and head for the Egyptian border.
Several years later, in a dream, God told Joseph it was alright to return to Israel, that the danger of Herod’s paranoia had gone to the grave with him. But cautious Joseph was still nervous about King Herod’s son who now occupied the throne. Once again God gave him directions in a dream, this time to take his little family north to rural Galilee and settle there.
Does God still speak to us through dreams?
Peggy frequently shakes me awake out of a nightmare at night – she says I’ve gone to war again. Such dreams hardly qualify as messages from God.
Actually, though, dreams can tell us a great deal about ourselves. Therapists often tell their patients to write down their dreams so they can be discussed in therapy. Perhaps this is one way that God still speaks through dreams. But dream interpretation in a therapy session is quite different from the crystal clear directions Joseph received.
I do remember one time when I was in college having a very vivid dream about traveling home for the holidays with some college friends. We were driving at night, the roads were icy, and the car was overloaded with passengers and luggage. As we came around bend in the road, the driver lost control and – I awoke just before the moment of impact!
The dream was so intense, so frightening, that I could not go back to sleep. I had actually lined up a ride with four college friends the following evening to take us (wife and infant son) home to my parents for a long holiday weekend.
So powerful was the impact of my dream that I could not shake it all day. I finally told my friends that we would not be traveling with them that evening and they left without us. I hated to miss the holiday weekend but I was greatly relieved that we would not be making the road trip.
The following Monday when my friends returned to school, one of them told me that they were very glad that my little family had not been with them on the trip. They hit a patch of ice, he told me, slid around on the road and nearly lost control. They were sure glad the car wasn’t loaded down with the additional weight. It could have been really bad, he said.
Does God still communicate through dreams?
Only once in my life have I had a dream so real that I could hardly distinguish it from an apparition. It occurred in the early morning hours on the day I was to marry Peggy York (my second Peggy). It had been less than two years since my first Peggy’s passing.
Though I was convinced Peggy York was gift of God’s graciousness to fill a deep void my life, I still had lingering concerns. Was this too soon? Was this somehow being disloyal to my first Peggy? The dream was so powerful, so real, that I captured it in words as best I could before it faded with the dawn.
December 29, 2006
Peggy, my first love, came to me in a dream early this morning. It was the first time I have dreamed about her since she left. I first saw her across the room, her back was to me, her hair very short and thin as it was when she was undergoing chemo treatments.
But I recognized her immediately and when she turned to face me she suddenly had a full head of hair, brown and beautiful with little traces of gray. It was curly, just like she always wished it was. She was younger looking, like in the days before cancer and chemo ravaged her body.
She was her beautiful self and I just stood there, unable to take my eyes off of her. She came close and I looked deeply into her brown eyes, those eyes that had always melted my heart. I gazed long like I wanted their imprint to remain indelibly in my mind. It was as though she had never left (but we both knew that she had) and we kissed and caressed tenderly. Strangely, our embrace was not sexual yet very warm and intimate.
I told her that I loved her deeply and would always love her. She seemed to know that but seemed both pleased and reassured by my words. She knew too about my relationship with Peggy York and our upcoming marriage and seemed peaceful about it. We embraced long and unhurried, so real and immediate, so comforting.
I do not recognize the setting where the dream took place but it was in a familiar house and neighborhood since we both interacted easily with familiar people who were there. She moved comfortably among friends, engaging in pleasant conversations. The conversations were easy and delightful.
She seemed totally self-assured, more at ease with herself than I have ever seen her. After a time I began to sense that Peggy’s time with us was getting short, so I gently pulled her away from the others and we went for a walk down a nearby lane (which was somehow in the country).
She told me how amazed she was at the way things worked in heaven. Though I was not able to comprehend very much of what she explained, it did involve a large diversity of people interacting in rich and delightful ways. She was so excited about it all.
Then she told me how wondrous from her vantage point was the earthly realm I still lived in, how it was full of hope and expectation, of planning and surprises, how not being able to see into the future was such a gift, so full of eagerness and anticipation. And then, after assuring me that both she and I were in very good places, she simply drifted away and was gone.
I awoke sobbing, not for sorrow at her leaving, but for the joy of seeing her, the sheer pleasure of being able to hold her and tell her I loved her one more time, at the joyfulness of her words. The only words that would come as I lay there pondering this incredible appearance were “thank you, thank you.”
It was a special gift of God, given to me on the eve of my wedding to Peggy York, a wonderfully reassuring, comforting experience, as real and as precious as if it had taken place in real life. But then, who knows just where “real life” ends and “real life” begins?
Perhaps it is enough to know that God does indeed reveal Himself to humankind – in dreams, in apparitions, in voices, in impressions, in coincidences, and in a thousand other unexpected ways. It is the message of the Christmas story – that God makes Himself known to us mortals. Emanuel – God is with us.