In this Prophetic Dream series, I am attempting to process the dreams I believe are communication that I am given from Jesus. In the first post, I describe the dream in parable/story form to provide the reader with a chance to start thinking if the story connects with them in any way. In part 2, I will describe the symbols in the dream and their possible meaning. Then in part 3, I will share how the dream has affected me and the message I interpret for the broader audience.
My hope in doing this is two-fold. First, I must obediently walk out my calling and use the spiritual gift I have been given. Second, I hope to provide some teaching about dream* interpretation. Because God’s word says that he will pour out, “in the last days,” visions and dreams in more significant measure. I believe we all must be prepared.
With all that in mind, I want to talk about the specific symbols and meanings in the dream described in part 1 of Following the Difficult Path. If you have not read it yet, stop right here and go back and read it first, process it, and come back. You will be glad you did if you want to get the full story. I want to remind you that I believe the prophetic dreams (separate from what is called “Pizza Dreams”)* in my life have been used by God to give wisdom, encourage, reveal, protect, and lead towards intercession. I also want you to get a glimpse into how I work through them.
As I wake up from a dream* like this, I go directly to prayer with the question, “what do you want me to understand about that dream?” The result of that question will often be nothing. But after some spending time in scripture or listening to some teaching (sermon, devotional, or a direct conversation), the meaning of the dream will start to become apparent. I have had the understanding of dreams almost immediately, but I have also had to wait years to finally understand. I begin to review the images in the vision for possible insight into the interpretation. Let me go over the pictures in the dream I presented in part 1.
The key images in the dream were a raft, two different elevators, a flowing river, a muddy river, and many unrecognizable people. I was both the person in the raft and an onlooker. The only words in the dream I remembered were “rescue the perishing” repeated over and over. Here is a breakdown of each image and the importance of those words so you can get a glimpse of how God helps me process his messages.
The Raft: I have come to understand that the image of a boat of any kind in dreams has invariably represented the church as defined as a group of disciples of Jesus. In the Bible, there are numerous times Jesus was with the disciples in a boat interacting. Plus, many others that have the gift of dream interpretation have had that connection in the dreams they have received. Since the raft is a small boat, it could represent the small group of believers who are working together to be the church to their community. Since this raft was the main transportation in the dream, it seemed to indicate the audience of the vision is the current disciples of Jesus, those in the church.
The Two Elevators: I think we all understand that an elevator’s purpose is to get people or things to different levels. We get on an elevator if we need to get to another building floor, but we don’t want to use our own energy to reach them via stairs. It is a faster, easier way, and personally, I appreciate not having to take the stairs, especially when the floor is beyond the second level. To me, the elevator in the dream was a destination that would get me lifted up to the level I needed to go. One elevator could only lift me so high but not as high as was necessary, the other elevator would get me up as high as I could go.
The Flowing River: This image made me remember a conversation with my husband as we ate our take out food in a park one day. Our view was a river soon after a rainstorm, which had raised the water levels enough to make the river move at a fast pace. His statement was like, “This would be a great day to canoe down the river because we wouldn’t have to paddle.” I also remembered a time when I was white water rafting with a friend in Colorado. It was fun until the person who was supposed to throw the rope missed, and we realized that the river we were in ended up falling over a dangerous waterfall. It was clear to me that the river in the dream was not representing a good thing****.
The Muddy River: Mud is dirty, sticky, messy, and, as an adult, we mostly avoid it. Since this river had more mud than water, it indicates it will take more effort to get the raft to move. It requires much more use of our muscles when we interact with it. However, it was clear in my dream that this muddy, messy river would actually lead to the destination of choice, so it was the preferred path.
The Many Unrecognizable People: Significantly, the people were not ones I know. When I recognize the person in my dream, I need to decipher if they represent themselves or a specific quality or relationship I have with them. For example, if my brother is in my dream, it can communicate that he needs prayer or Jesus is revealing himself with brotherly love. Plus, if I know them, I will pray for them either way. Here, in this dream, the people were strangers indicating individuals I had not connected with yet. They represented a mass of struggling people who needed rescue, and I understood that I could offer that to them.
The words “Rescue the Perishing”: I have found that words, colors, and numbers are essential to God’s dream language. The repeated ones need to be given more emphasis. When I heard these words in my dream over and over, the message was powerful. I know upon waking, God was directly giving a call to action. Plus, these words are from a song I can look up and investigate its lyrics. Music is a powerful tool of communication that God repeatedly uses to teach and direct me, so I have learned to pay attention to it.
Now that I have detailed the images in this dream and their possible meaning, I want you to reread the dream. Take more time and pray about the message God could be communicating to you. It is what I have and am doing too. In the next post, I will share my conclusions in the meantime here is the dream again.
The place she was required to go was on the 10th floor, and she saw the elevator that she believed would get her there. Thankfully, the way to get there seemed easy and smooth. Now you must understand that she was in a raft, and the path was a flowing river. She did not need to paddle, no need to battle against the current. All she had to concern herself with was the destination and how it would get her all she desired.
The problem became evident when she arrived at the elevator door and discovered that it would only take her to the 4th floor, which was short of where she needed to be. Her eyes darted as she looked for an elevator that would take her to her perfect destination of the 10th floor. When she saw it, she realized the path was going to require something she was not expecting and didn’t know if she had what it would take to get there. The way consisted of very little water and a lot of mud. It was going to take some effort, and that would make it very uncomfortable.
Thankfully, the importance of her destination spurred her to try. She grabbed the oars to push the raft through the mud. At one point, she had to jump out and push the raft through a specifically thick muddy patch. But as she saw the elevator getting closer, she was energized to keep trying. As long as she looked at where she was going, she thought she would be okay. The believed she could push through, but the words she heard next told her that there was another goal she had forgotten in her quest. The voice spoke directly at her raft and said, “rescue the perishing, rescue the perishing” louder and louder with every stroke of the paddle in her hand.
The realization was harder than the mud before her. She had forgotten that she was supposed to care more about those around her than her destination. As she tore her eyes away from the destination, she saw them; Person after person, with no raft and no tools to get them out of the muddy path. It didn’t seem to matter who they were but more about what she was doing about their circumstances. They were one after another drowning in the very path meant to get them to freedom. At that moment, she realized that she had become more concerned about her hope and less focused on those who had no hope.
My interpretation coming in Part 3…
* I want to clarify that not all dreams are from God and meant to determine our actions. Seeking God as we process our dreams, learning about the dreams given in the Bible and seeking Godly council are keys to making sure we do not allow our dreams to take us off course.
**It is crucial to process and understand the difference between a “Pizza Dream,” which I define as dreams because we ate something. Our brain can react to food by causing weird images while we sleep) and a “Prophetic Dream.” I define this as a dream given by God to reveal what he needs us to understand) takes time and leaning into God for wisdom and understanding. There are resource tools I also found that helped me with dream symbols. The training I received came from Dare to Believe Ministry based in Burnsville, Minnesota.
***I really have three kinds of prophetic dreams; ones for me personally, ones for others, and ones that affect both me and others. The vision I talked about in the last post was the latter. I see parts that are to motivate me to change but also a need to admonish the body of Christ to “love and good deeds.” I will try to explain how the images and symbols in a dream led me to understand God’s purpose and what actions he may be asking of us.
**** I have found that God will use images that relate to a specific memory in order to help me understand his message, much like in the Bible, where Jesus chose images in his parables that his audience clearly had a background in.