Picture: Lui Argerich
Does Jesus ever appear in our dreams? This is adapted from Unseen Footprints: Encountering the Divine Along the Journey of Life.
Missionary Ben Staggs describes a unique experience he had when visiting the Boshu people, an extremely isolated group in Ethiopia’s Me’en territory. On arrival, Ben and his team were welcomed by a local named Golon Kabule. “We sat down and spoke a bit,” Ben says, “explaining that we had come to tell them of ‘God’s talk’. I described who God is, what He is like, and where He lives.”
But Golon hardly needed informing. He suddenly spoke up. “We must follow Christosi,” he said, using the Me’en word for Christ. Astonished, as Christ’s name had not even been mentioned, Ben asked where Golon had heard that name. Golon explained that Christ had appeared to him in a dream, told him that it was he who had given Golon his life, blood and bones, and that Golon was to follow him. Christ then said that in just five days someone would come to tell him about following that path. Ben and his team had landed on the fifth day after the dream.
There are hundreds, even thousands, of reports of people in the developing world having such experiences. The encounters have a similar theme—Christ appears and issues a straightforward call to follow him.
But how often do such experiences happen in western countries? Perhaps even in Australia?
I remember hearing Shona’s story one Sunday morning in 1999. “All my material, intellectual, family and selfish needs were being met,” she said to us listening in the church auditorium in Redcliffe, Queensland, “but there was definitely something more I needed, and my constant searching for this missing element was driving me nuts.” Enrolling her daughter in a Christian school, Shona decided to take a course on the Christian faith offered by the school to prepare for any tricky questions asked by her daughter in the future. About four weeks into the course Shona had a dream that metaphorically and literally shook her awake:
In my dream I was at a fabulous party having a wonderful time, when I heard a quiet knock at the door. I opened the door and there was this person. He wasn’t tremendously tall or anything but he really stood out because he was so radiant with such a clear white light. There were a couple of figures behind him, but they just faded into insignificance compared to him.
“Wow,” I said, “I want a piece of what you have. I want to be like you.” “You can,” he said, and reached over and touched me above the heart. I looked down and I could see into my heart and there was a spark of his light there, and I knew it could grow.
I woke bolt upright at about 2:30 in the morning and I realised then that was Jesus Christ himself talking to me. That was when I truly asked him to take control of me and to be with me always.
I’ve since found the start of my dream echoes some words in the book of Revelation, chapter 3, verse 20: ‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with me.’
We can often read too much into our dreams. Mine can get quite vivid too, especially after a large Pepperoni Supreme or a good red curry.
But when they feature a character meeting the biblical descriptions of God’s name, character and call, it’s probably worth a second thought. Because it seems that, around the world, Christosi is often the heavenly visitor in a thousand dreams.
Q: Have you ever had an experience similar to Golon or Shona?