I have dreamed a dream…
As he and his family tarried in the wilderness, Lehi was presented with a message from God. He told his family, “Behold, I have dreamed a dream; or, in other words, I have seen a vision. He then relayed his dream of the tree of life, the iron rod, and the strait and narrow path. Lehi was presented with a narrative which held much meaning to him. As he recited his dream to his family, he expressed great joy for Nephi and Sam and great concern for Laman and Lemuel.
After he listened to his father’s vision of the night, Nephi expressed the desire of his heart (1 Nephi 10:17-19):
“I, Nephi, was desirous also that I might see, and hear, and know of these things, by the power of the Holy Ghost, which is the gift of God unto all those who diligently seek him, as well in times of old as in the time that he should manifest himself unto the children of men.
For he is the same yesterday, to-day, and forever; and the way is prepared for all men from the foundation of the world, if it so be that they repent and come unto him.
For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost…”
Nephi sought the gift of God; to see what his father saw and hear what his father heard. He also was blessed a grand experience. The angel, not only took him through the same experience but also provided Nephi with an understanding of the symbols used in the dream/vision. The tree of life is the love of God, the iron rod is the word of God; the spacious building is the pride of man; all powerful symbols helping us understand the language of God.
Dreams have been used throughout the scriptures to convey important information about spiritual matters. Joseph was warned to take Mary and the baby Jesus to Egypt to preserve the life of the Savior. Another Joseph was able to discern the meaning of the symbols of Pharoah’s dreams and save his family.
If we are to take these dreams and their interpretations as examples, our dreams can be used by God to present us with valuable information. Nephi understood this when he said (2 Nephi 4:23):
“Behold, he hath heard my cry by day, and he hath given me knowledge by visions in the night-time.”
Perhaps we, too, should learn how to take advantage of this mechanism of spiritual communication by pouring out our hearts to God and allowing him to answer our prayers in our visions of the night-time.
As I learned this principle, I have become more diligent in my preparation to retire, using the time to frame my questions concerns and doing my best to shed outside distractions. When the opportunity presents itself upon waking, I strive to quickly rehearse the dream in my mind and, as soon as possible, commit it to text. I can then prayerfully consider those dreams which seem to hold a message and ask God for the meaning. Sometimes my dreams are fairly long narratives with significant action. Other times, I am left only with a concise image or short segment. In either case, they are deep in symbols. God seems to speak to each of us in a language we can relate to, using items that reflect on our understanding. For example, in my dreams, a mode of transportation can represent a way of thinking. I suppose that each one of us will develop their own spiritual vocabulary, our communications with God.
As I have begun to treat these visions of the night with more careful consideration, I can see more of their value in my life. I, also, have discovered that I have a difficult time pretending. In my dreams, I am who I am. I project those thoughts that are, during my normal waking hours, hidden from public view. The real ‘me” seems to be easily portrayed in my dreams I cannot hide my true desires and inclinations. In this light, dreams can easily be used to spotlight my weaknesses found in my mind and my heart.
So… dreams… are they solely product of the pepperoni from the night before or can they be an underutilized conduit to our Maker?
What think ye?