Dreaming with God
Without question, God is the most misunderstood person that has ever existed. Since the destiny of anything is inseparably linked to its creator, we can never fully accomplish our purpose until we understand the heart and motive of our Creator. I want us to look at this for the next few days, doing so in the context of God’s dreaming heart, and our dreaming nature.
You may not be aware of it, but you have a dreaming nature. I’m not speaking of night dreams and visions; I’m referring to desires, plans, hopes, and dreams regarding your future. You inherited this part of your nature from your Creator and heavenly Father. God is a dreamer, and He created us in His image and likeness so our hearts could relate to His, and in order for His dreaming heart to have millions of expressions. You were designed to dream, and you must dream - both for yourself and for God. If you don’t dream, He can’t experience all of His dreams…and you’ll never achieve the destiny He planned for you.
A life without dreams is like a GPS without a satellite. The GPS might operate, but it would lead you nowhere. That’s a horrible destination! Without God-given dreams to guide you, you will travel life’s highway, searching for a destination you’ll never find. Divinely inspired dreams, on the other hand, will guide you to the destiny He intended for you.
Your Designer dreamed dreams for you before you were even born, then skillfully wove them into your DNA as you were created, along with the ability to find and fulfill them. If you don’t discover God’s dreams for you, you’ll either waste your life running in the wrong races and crossing wrong finish lines or, like many people, having no finish line at all. Other individuals stop running altogether, wandering through life as though it were a maze, hoping they will stumble upon the right exit. What a tragedy. Your Creator doesn’t intend for life to be a roll of the dice. You CAN find His plans and dreams for you and pursue them with confidence.
I want to help you through this series. The inspiration for it began twelve years ago on a personal retreat, as did a new phase of my own dream quest. The Lord used several things to launch me into this new season: prayer, His Word, a song, the right setting, and a movie. Yep, a movie.
The Ultimate Gift is one of my favorite movies. It’s the story of Red Stevens, an older and extremely wealthy businessman who had contracted a terminal disease and was trying to decide where to leave his billions. It seemed his children were money-hungry, self-indulgent, and irresponsible, as were his grandchildren.
All but one.
Jason seemed like all the rest, but Red had seen something else in him, buried under the outer layer of pain, laziness, and his party-driven lifestyle. Red knew that under this stained veneer was great strength and noble character, so he decided to leave his fortune to Jason - IF he passed a series of tests, which Red would present personally and posthumously by video. These tests would be difficult and time-consuming, some of them lasting for weeks. Jason would only learn of the next challenge after successfully completing the previous one.
At first, Jason resisted - the old man’s money could go to charity - he wasn’t going to play the game. But after much thought, he decided to give it a try, just to get the money. What he didn’t know was that each challenge was designed not only as a test, but as a character builder and teaching tool. Red called them “gifts, a series of gifts.”
Throughout the movie, it is fascinating to watch the transformation in Jason. He learns the value of hard work, loyalty, giving, family, and several more essential qualities needed for a successful and responsible life. Toward the end, he sits down to see the next video, giving him still another assignment. Grandpa, though now gone, knew when making the videos that if at this point they were still being shown to Jason by his wise and discerning business partner, Jason had passed the previous tests and could be trusted with wealth.
When this next video begins, Red says, “It’s time for you to learn to dream, Jason.” Like the character in the movie, I was riveted to the television. What a concept, I thought, the test of dreaming. Jason was given a very large sum of money, though it was actually a small portion of the inheritance, and told to do anything he wanted with it. And just in case you decide to watch the movie, that’s where I’ll stop.
The timing of watching this movie - I had taken it with me on a personal retreat - was perfect. I was in a season of reflection, analyzing the past and considering the future. As part of this process, I planned a week alone to think and pray. The place Ceci found for this was more than perfect. The altar and cross out back reminded me of Moriah, a special place of dreaming mentioned in Scripture (Genesis 22).
Perhaps you aren’t aware of Moriah and its rich biblical history. It is the mountain where Abraham took Isaac to offer him as a sacrifice. God stopped him, of course. He had only wanted to test Abraham’s obedience and paint a picture of Himself offering His Son on the Cross centuries later. Moriah was the actual place where this would occur! There, on that momentous mountain, Abraham and God dreamed together. Abraham dreamed of the day he would have so many descendants they would become a great nation. God dreamed of the day He would recapture His dream of family. But I’m getting way ahead of myself.
As the week progressed, I found myself being drawn into a thoughtful analysis of my life. What had I accomplished? Which of these accomplishments were truly worth the time and effort? How many would stand the test of eternity? As painful as some of it was, I was trying to be brutally and utterly honest. What dreams had I pursued under the banner of “for the Lord,” when my heart had deceived me and they had actually been “for me”? Many dreams passed the test, some failed. It was painful, but good.
Finally, on that life-changing day several years back, Holy Spirit shifted my focus from the past to the future. He bagan speaking to me about dreaming, just as Red did to Jason. “What are your dreams for the future?” He asked, pulling my innermost thoughts from my heart to my conscious mind.
I thought. I journaled. Hopefully, with a little more clarity of heart and a few decades of added perspective, I dreamed with greater depth and less selfish ambition than I had in my younger years. Over the past four decades, climbing the ladder of success had gradually been replaced by plumbing the depths of His heart. Accomplishments were now measured more by heaven’s approval than earth’s applause; making a name had given way to making a difference. At least I hoped so.
Eventually, the Lord steered the conversation in a direction that caught me completely off guard. “Now, I’d like to dream a little,” I heard Him say. “Would you like to hear some of My dreams?” I listened and I wept. God was trusting me with His dreaming heart. That day remains one of the most holy of my life. I built an altar of remembrance that day - not one made of rocks and mortar, this altar was in my heart.
My goal for this series of posts is that you, too, connect with the dreaming heart of God. If I can enlist you in His dream program by connecting you to His dreaming heart, you’ll never again be satisfied with the subnormal existence of a nondreamer, or the self-limiting, mundane life of an earthbound one. You were created to dream with God, and doing so in partnership with Him is one of Yahweh’s greatest gifts to us.
Pray with me:
Father, help us to understand Your heart as a father and friend, not just as the all-powerful God. Raise up a generation of dreamers who will dare to dream with You. Show and impart to us Your heart for the lost, the hurting, the lonely, and the deceived.
Help us to break out of earth-level dreams only, and break into heavenly dreams, eternal dreams. Deliver us from shallow thinking and selfish ambition. Release passion for the saving of nations. Grip individuals with Your heart for the young, the old, the poor, and the rich.
Help us to see revival - not as an event or series of events - but as heaven’s response to Your great passion. It is love’s response to earth’s need, a father’s heart to a prodigal earth. GIVE US YOUR PASSIONATE HEART TO HEAL AND SAVE! In Christ’s name, we ask You to do this, Amen.
We decree that we will dream with God, and because of this, a portion of our dreaming will be eternal in nature.
Today’s post was taken from my book Dream.
Dutch Sheets Dream, Discovering God’s Purpose for Your Life (Grand Rapids: Baker Publishing Group, 2012), pp 11-16.
Click on the link below to watch the full video.