Can God speak to us through dreams? There is Biblical precedent for it. In our family we believe God does communicate this way, and we have a vivid story in our history that demonstrates it.
I remember well the morning eight years ago. You have your own memories of it, certainly. I am something of a skeptic by nature. Many of you probably are too. But I’ve come believe God can and does speak to us in many ways, at many times. We simply need to tune in and listen. On the morning of 9/11/01 I believe God spoke to wife Jill and my son Matthew and gave them a wake up call to pray for events, that in our frame of time hadn’t yet happened.
Here’s how Jennifer Schuchmann and I described the experience in Nine Ways God Always Speaks:
Jill woke suddenly in the middle of the night. The room was dark, and she was alone in bed. In her dream, she had seen a plane crash and burn, and then saw herself walking through the wreckage. Human bodies were buried in the debris. When she sat up and rubbed her eyes, she realized it was just a dream. But even awake, the images haunted her. Not knowing what else to do, she prayed.
Though her husband had been out of town for the past two days, Jill knew he was driving through the night and would be home in the morning. Feeling calmer, she pulled the covers up and went back to sleep.
It was still dark when Jill was awakened again; this time by her eight-year-old son Matthew shaking her arm.
“What’s the matter Matthew?”
“I had a bad dream.”
Jill sat up and hugged him. Safe in his mother’s arms, he told her the details.
“There was a man with a whitish robe and a long gray beard. He broke into our house. We chased him down the street, but I was scared.”
With her husband not yet home, Jill rolled over and made room in the bed for Matthew.
“I had a scary dream too. Let’s just give them to Jesus and go back to sleep.” They both prayed, and then fell back to sleep for a few more hours.
That morning, as Jill stood in the kitchen making breakfast, she turned on the TV. The screen was filled with images from a breaking news story.
The date was September 11, 2001.
Are you kidding?
What was Jill supposed to do with that?
… even if Jill and her son had realized their dreams’ meaning, what could they have done? Could they have called the FAA and told them of their mutual nightmares? Or driven to the airport to see if they could find men with gray beards and white robes and make a citizen’s arrest?
Did God really expect Jill and Matthew to stop the atrocities of 9/11? She was a Minnesota housewife with no aeronautical or political connections. Matthew wasn’t even a Boy Scout. And the Department of Homeland Security was not yet in existence.
No. Even if they understood the meaning behind their dreams, they would have been considered crazy. No one would have listened. Frankly, even after September 11, Jill is still hesitant to mention the dreams because people are often skeptical.
So what’s the point behind a dream like that?
What was God trying to say to Jill and her son through two such inexplicable dreams and their timing?
In retrospect, the only explanation seems to be prayer. Matthew and Jill prayed. That was their response. And perhaps that was the only point and intent. Their prayers didn’t stop the horror of course, but we’ll never know this side of eternity if they had other effects. One thing seems clear though: for some reason God broke in and called them to pray. They did. The rest is a mystery.