How many times in your life have you had a dream that alerted you to possible turbulence ahead if you continued with a particular pursuit? Even if you don’t understand the dreams, your spirit-awareness heightens toward possible pitfalls that could keep you from making a costly mistake—because of warning dreams.
Though highly unsettling and sometimes deeply disturbing, warning dreams are given by God, who sees what is up ahead and down the road a little for us, things we don’t perceive. He knows the obstacles and dangers that could threaten to derail or delay us in reaching our destiny. His heart is to get our attention, cause us to pause and reflect, and direct us toward ‘higher ground’ so we can journey forward, guarded by wisdom and protection.
I call them ‘red flags’. These dreams say to us, “Heads up! Something’s not right! Proceed with caution! Alarm bells are going off!” Some examples:
- “Go home another way”—God tells Joseph in a dream to move to Egypt so they can escape the king that wants to kill baby Jesus (Mt 2)
- Dreamer decides to take a new job, but has a dream that the new boss is more preoccupied with the ‘cash box’ than with ethics or integrity
- Dreamer shares deeply with a new friend, then dreams of the friend turning into a vicious alligator with a big mouth (gossip) and lots of sharp, biting teeth
- Teacher/leader dreams they sets up their new class or venture, and the people they are leading are not just admiring the inherited ‘jewelry’ on display, they are stealing it
- Dreamer is deciding whether to partner with a new venture, and dreams about buying a house that is dirty, disorganized, in disrepair, too costly to renovate
The big question to ask when we realize we’ve had a warning dream (or vision) is how to respond. Do we acknowledge there might be a problem and continue to advance slowly with discerning eyes, or do we STOP dead in our tracks and take another route? How significant are those red flags?
I’ve made grave goofs either way. Looking back, in some instances, I should have completely halted. Sometimes I believe I should have kept moving ahead to be used as a willing conduit for change or as a truthful voice. Consistently though, I’ve regretted every single time that I did not pay serious attention, hesitate, and get some guidance.
Warning dreams may be recurrent if we do not listen. God has grace to keep reminding us. But we can expect to pay a big price if we don’t give these dreams our full attention.
A wise man once said, “A prudent man sees trouble coming and ducks, but the simpleton walks in blindly and is clobbered.” (Proverbs 22:3)