July 18, 2024

Troubling Dreams

Daniel 7:15-18

“I, Daniel, was troubled in spirit, and the visions that passed through my mind disturbed me.”

—  Daniel 7:15

On occasions when I have visited places plagued with malaria, I have taken antimalarial drugs. The lifesaving benefits of these medications certainly outweigh the side effects, but these pills can trigger vivid, bizarre, and even frightening dreams.

The prophet Daniel sometimes had strange dreams, but they weren’t induced by medications (see Daniel 7-12). He received those dreams from the Lord, and they were given to assure God’s people that the Lord will always care for them and that his kingdom will never be destroyed.

Like Daniel, many people have struggled to understand and interpret these dreams. And as Daniel himself said, the dreams left him “troubled,” “exhausted,” and even sick.

Beyond the question of interpretation, Daniel’s dreams may lead us to wonder about the purpose of our own dreams. Sometimes our dreams may reveal or highlight a spiritual truth to us, though not in the same way as dreams in the Bible do. Most of our dreams, though, will remain a mysterious part of our inner lives.

Nonetheless, we can be assured that the one who created in us the ability to dream also knows and loves us completely. The Lord will never abandon us, even in our most troubling dreams.

Father, you have created us to dream. Please show your presence in all areas of our lives and keep us trusting in you always. Amen.

About the author — Kurt Selles

Kurt Selles is the director of ReFrame Ministries and serves as the Executive Editor of Today. He is a graduate of Calvin College and Seminary, and received his PhD from Vanderbilt University. Before coming to ReFrame, he served 19 years in Taiwan and China with CRC World Missions. Kurt later taught missions at Beeson Divinity School, where he also acted as the director of the school’s Global Center. Kurt and his wife, Vicki, reside in Grand Rapids and have three adult children.

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