Dreams and Purpose

Some dreams may contain the seeds of your life purpose.

Posted Nov 19, 2020

ˆ“This is a wicked generation; it is asking for a sign. The only sign it will be given is the sign of Jonah.” — Luke 11: 29.

It is a striking fact that that most of the world’s prophets received their prophetical calls in dreams. Some say that this was true even of Jonah — the one swallowed by the whale. Jonah, of course, was a prophet sent by God to call the citizens of the city of Nineveh to repentance. Jonah at first refused his mission but then warmed to his task until the citizens actually repented! God, therefore, relented from his purpose to punish the people of Nineveh but this sent Jonah into a rage against God. Jonah wanted vengeance, not compassion to be visited upon the citizens of Nineveh.

God then had to teach Jonah the lesson that when he chooses someone for a mission, especially when he chooses via the dream, it will be God’s wishes that are served—not the prophet’s wishes. Purpose or mission received supernaturally, often in a dream, controls the individual—not the other way around. Here is clear evidence of the extraordinary power of the dream, for better or worse, to inspire, control, guide and motivate people’s lifelong aims and behaviors.

Mission (or purpose or vocation), when it is fruitful, comes from the experience of being sent by a higher power more worthy of reverence than all our other little "gods." It is most often felt as true “purpose” or mission when it is received in a dream. The supernatural effects of the “call," or the sense of being “sent” by one higher, is most often experienced when the call comes via the dream. An angel or messenger of the gods appears in the dream and is experienced as vividly real, shining, powerful, and commanding. They deliver the message. The dreamer trembles with fear, joy, and ecstasy, and then the angel is gone. The dreamer awakens with a sense of fearlessness, surety, purpose, and mission.

The power of true mission and purpose, therefore, derives from the experience of being sent: of being delegated by some higher power, manifest in the dream, to perform some service.  The dream-mediated higher-power may be felt as a sort of irrepressible, quiet, and persistent desire to right a social wrong, or to create a work of art, or love and nurture a family, or to lead a group of people or to simply succeed where others have failed. Or it may be for more nefarious ends such as fanatical religious or political aims. It's as if the dream state allows the dreamer to become possessed by some over-riding aim and it determines the life destiny of the dreamer.

We are all at some point given this kind of dream. For some, the dream inspires a life purpose and they ride it out till the end. For others, they try to ignore the dream, the call. For some, it burns into a powerful flame, while for others, the flame merely flickers and dies away. Some are burned, scorched, and purified in the flames of this dream-induced call and purpose until they become its finely honed tools or instruments.

Purpose for these chosen ones is most powerful and can build civilizations (think of Mohammed or Moses). The is the real generative power of dream-induced purpose. That power generates whole new life worlds, spiritual realities, and civilizations. When we are sent by some "holy one" experienced in the dream, that is the kind and scale of the power we are given — yet few consent to wield it. We are like the prophet Moses who when Yahweh called him asked Yahweh to find someone else because he could not speak eloquently enough to serve! The dream may inspire fearlessness upon awakening but it needs to be continuously re-charged to work its magic.

We are never quite ready when purpose seizes us, demanding that we deliver the message and perform the service. How can we be when something as worthy of reverence and pure, blinding, simple, shattering, searing, ennobling, thrilling, powerful, and beautiful as the "call" to vocation …finds us? Can “he” really intend to send me? Surely there must be some mistake. I am not worthy, or ready, or smart enough, attractive enough, accomplished enough, rich enough, poor enough, pure enough, young enough, old enough, wise enough, good enough…But the only thing he is interested in, apparently, is if I am willing enough. Will I say “yes” when he sends the dream that will anoint me? 

Look wherever you will at the fount and foundation of a cultural river that produces centuries of scientists, saints, heroes, leaders, inventors, healers, writers, builders, philosophers, wanderers, explorers, wealth-creators, teachers, poets, and artists and you will find a founder---a person possessed after a pivotal dream. You will find the one who was conscious of being chosen and sent by some power larger than life itself and that is how the dream is experienced by these people. Scientists still have no models or even the language to discuss this aspect of dreaming. But it's time we did. The sign of Jonah, the one who attempted to refuse his life purpose, will haunt us till then.