Husband: “Honey, wake up! We have to hurry!”
Wife: “What? What is going on? Why do we have to hurry?”
Husband: “There’s no time! Pack the baby a bag—grab what you need and get it into the car right now. We’re moving to Mexico.”
Wife: “Mexico? It is 3 o’clock in the morning. Can’t we talk about this tomorrow? I don’t want to live in Mexico.”
Husband: “No, we are taking only what we can fit in the car. We have to go now!”
Wife: “Why? What is so important?”
Husband: “I had a dream that we needed to move to Mexico, and we have to leave before dawn.”
Wife: “A dream? Good grief. Go back to bed!”
How would you respond to a middle-of-the-night conversation about another country with your spouse? Would you jump out of bed and start packing your bags? Or would you roll over and tell them to go back to sleep?
Surprisingly, that little conversation is based on a true story, and the people involved really did move to another country the same night. But it wasn’t a car they used to get there, and it wasn’t Mexico; they most likely took a donkey, and the new country was Egypt. This is, of course, the story of Joseph and Mary (Matthew 2:13–15).
Again and again, biblical characters made important decisions based on their dreams. I would suggest they were right in doing so, and our modern-day skepticism of dreams is not. All of us desire to be biblical believers, whose lives are founded on the truth of Scripture; we want to walk with God, who reveals Himself in His Word. If we’re going to do this successfully, we need to adjust our worldview until it agrees with what is presented in Scripture.
We err when we shut the door and don’t allow God to give us specific direction in dreams or visions. But we also err when we assume every dream from God is a direction dream that should be taken literally—and right now. How can we know what God is saying in the night? And how should we respond?
How to Respond to a Direction Dream
In a previous article, I talked about how you can recognize if a dream is from your soul, the enemy or God.(CLICK HERE TO READ MORE.)Once you’ve established a dream is from God, how do you know if you need to do something immediately?
Here are a few simple things to keep in mind:
- Do you understand the dream? If you don’t know what a dream is saying, God doesn’t expect you to go out and try to obey it. It’s one thing to reject the idea of dreams and refuse to seek God for the interpretation; however, if you are trying to understand and you don’t, you can wait until God makes the dream’s message clear to you. Joseph knew exactly what the message was and what he was supposed to do. A dream is only as good as its interpretation.
- What does the dream reveal about timing? When are you supposed to take this action or make this change? Timing is essential. Certain dreams let you know something is coming before it arrives, while others tell you what you need to do immediately. Joseph knew they had to leave that same night.
- Does the dream contradict what God has been saying to you? Why would God give you a dream that “challenges” what He’s told you previously? This can be a clue concerning the dream’s timing, and it is likely the message is for another season. Stay faithful with what God has clearly shown you until He speaks with equal clarity about a change. Old orders are standing orders. Long before the new season begins, God will often tell you about it to prepare you for change and keep you from settling in a temporary assignment.
- Does the dream feel urgent? When you woke up, did you sense you needed to act right away? Direction dreams that necessitate a quick response often leave you with a sense of urgency when you wake up. You know you need to do something immediately; there is a restlessness in your spirit, and the dream’s message haunts you.
Keep these principles in mind the next time you sense you’ve had a direction dream. One of the beautiful things about relationship with God is that He wants us to hear His voice. In fact, He is more interested in our hearing Him than we are. If our hearts are truly positioned to obey Him in all things, He will make sure we know what we are supposed to do and when we are supposed to do it.
Dreams are not the only way God guides us, nor are they even the primary way—yet He does guide us in dreams. We can have hearts that are open to His voice no matter how it comes to us.