Have you ever dreamed about the future? Prophetic dreams deliver information about future events, while other types of future dreams involve guidance about the future. Dreams about the future may feature messages of warning, encouragement, wisdom, healing, and creative ideas. All of them can inspire you with awe.
In Wake Up to Wonder, I tell the story of how a friend of mine experienced a prophetic dream that ended up saving my unborn daughter’s life. God warned her about a situation that my doctor and I were unaware of, and my friend woke up with a strong urge to pray about it. As she prayed during the night about her dream, the Holy Spirit helped her interpret it. She called me in the morning to tell me the message, and later that day my doctor confirmed it. If my friend had lacked the faith to respond or the courage to tell me, my daughter could have been stillborn. Thankfully, she responded to God’s call, and my daughter was born healthy. I will always be grateful to God for speaking through that dream, and grateful to my friend for acting on it.
“When there is a prophet among you, I, the Lord, reveal myself to them in visions, I speak to them in dreams,” God says in Numbers 12:6 of the Bible. Biblical dreams about the future are diverse. Some involve warnings, such as Pharoah’s dreams in Genesis 41 warning him to store up food to prepare for a coming famine. Some urge helping people in need, like Paul’s dream in Acts 16 urging him to go to Macedonia, where people needed to hear the gospel. Other prophetic dreams in the Bible encourage the dreamers to follow God’s guidance, such as Joseph’s dream in Matthew 1 encouraging him to not be afraid of Mary’s pregnancy and move ahead with their plans to wed.
Future dreams often contain a call to action from God – to make a decision, or to say or do something. The dream that Joseph had in Matthew 2 to return home to Nazareth from Egypt by a different route than the one he had planned (in order to prevent Herod from murdering Jesus) called for him to make a decision in response. The dream that Solomon had in 1 Kings 3 called for him to speak up in response to God’s question in the dream: “Ask for whatever you want me to give you” (1 Kings 3:5). The dream that Paul had in Acts 16 challenged him to take action right away to help someone.
God may give you any of these types of messages about the future through your dreams:
Warning: If you or someone you know is facing a dangerous situation but is unaware of it, God may send you a warning message about it through your dreams and show you what steps you can take for future preparation and protection.
Encouragement: When God communicates encouraging messages to you in dreams, those messages will either build your confidence in who you are or help you discover and fulfill the potential for what you can do in the future. God may urge you to take the risks necessary to pursue something that he wants you to do, assuring you that you’ll have his help available to you every step of the way.
Wisdom for positive change: God may send you a message that to help you better understand your own attitudes and behaviors and how they’re affecting your life, so you can see what’s healthy and what needs to change. Or God may send a message that highlights your interests and talents, to help you figure out how best to pursue what God wants you to pursue.
Healing: God may remind you of the hope that he offers you to heal from whatever past pain you’ve suffered. God may give you a vision of how your life can become better in the future if you place your trust in God and follow where he leads you.
Creative ideas: God may send you creative ideas that are designed to inspire you, motivate you to pursue new adventures and projects, and help you solve problems to improve the future.
You can interpret any dream with God’s help. Soon after you wake up, record whatever details you remember from your dream. Then carefully reflect on those details. Learn more about any symbols (such as colors, shapes, and numbers). Consider the possible connections between the content of your dream and your waking life. What do you think God is trying to tell you through your dream? Pray about the dream, asking the Holy Spirit to clarify the message for you. As 1 Corinthians 2:10, 12 points out: “The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. … What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.”
If you experience a true prophetic dream, you can trust that there is a good purpose for it. 1 Corinthians 14:3 assures you: “But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort.” However, the Bible cautions us to beware of false prophetic messages from dreams. God laments in Jeremiah 23:25-26: “I have heard what the prophets say who prophesy lies in my name. They say, ‘I had a dream! I had a dream!’ How long will this continue in the hearts of these lying prophets, who prophesy the delusions of their own minds?” If God sends you a message through a prophetic dream, he will clearly explain its meaning to you when you ask him to help you understand it. Real messages from God won’t be confusing. As 1 Corinthians 14:33 declares: “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace…”.
After you learn the meaning of your future dream, do your best to respond to it faithfully. Take action in whatever ways God is leading you, so the purpose of your dream can be fulfilled. Then you will likely experience even more wonder as the future unfolds!