Dream of Greater Days Ahead
With scenes of the U.S. Capitol under siege fresh in our minds, and a president departing in disgrace, I’m sure the doomsday prophets are in high gear about now.
I can imagine sales of survival kits, emergency food, and generators going through the roof this year. Not to mention multiplied numbers of online conspiracy theorists fanning the flames of anger and division.
However, while those who are on the verge of meltdown scream that the sky is falling, I recall a powerful dream I had about 25 years ago while living in another state.
It came a couple years after my wife and I had gone through Experiencing God, the bestselling Bible study workbook by Henry Blackaby. Its main thesis: find out where God is working and then join Him in His activity.
We wound up deciding the church where we took part in the study was too far from where we lived to attend permanently.
But I will never forget the anticipation we sensed each week during that study season. Every time, different people talked excitedly about how God had spoken to them or how He had moved in their life that week.
The church we wound up at was declining. It was a story that has been repeated ad infinitum in recent decades: an aging congregation with few young people. On any given Sunday, attendance was about one-fifth the members on the church rolls.
That’s why I was so shocked by my dream a couple years after attending the Experiencing God sessions (especially since I’ve never been one to receive lots of startling dreams and visions).
I remember it happened on a Friday night. In it, the normally sparsely populated sanctuary at our church was filled to overflowing. So many were there I had to take a seat in the balcony.
Numerous “street people” were speaking joyously about being set free from drug addictions, alcoholism, or prostitution.
As I watched in amazement, a voice sounded from above: “This is how you know God is at work.”
A few years after this dream, I was interviewing a pastor for a story for a weekly newspaper. I don’t remember how the topic arose, but I mentioned this dream to him.
He thanked me for sharing it, relating how he had had a similar dream. In his, he was baptizing long lines of people at his church.
“They just kept coming and coming,” he said. “So many that I had to stop and ask for help, because my arms were wearing out.”
On the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was poured out in Jerusalem, Peter told the people: “This is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘In the last days it shall be,’ says God, ‘that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams’” (Acts 2:16–17).
It is significant that Peter was quoting the prophet Joel, who had delivered these words as long as (the exact date is unclear) nine centuries earlier.
Neither my dream nor this pastor’s have come to pass, but I am still looking forward to them unfolding. In the midst of great calamity, God can perform His greatest work.