I rarely have nightmares. I usually sleep well and remember bits and pieces from my dreaming phase of sleep. Most of the time I re-live some part of something that I did the day before the dream. I sometimes dream nonsense things like flying over a river or seeing elephants in my living room. Last night, however, was an exception to my dreaming pattern because I had a nightmare! Let me tell you about it.
I was in a lovely home and had several young children in my care. It must have been a townhouse because the home was connected to other homes in a large block. Maybe it was an apartment, I’m not sure. I do remember that it was a beautiful home with tall ceilings and large windows. I was sitting in the living room while the children were playing around me and some movement catches my eye up above me on the wall opposite of me. There was a beautiful border of trim made of wood where the ceiling meets the wall and that is where my attention was directed. From the corner of the trim I began to see legs of a large spider and then more legs and more spiders began to come out from the trim. I hate spiders, but usually I muster the courage to kill them. These spiders, however, were different because they were large and so many that I was startled and a little freaked out. Then came the head of a snake, a large and long boa constrictor snake began to slither out of the corner with the spiders. I began to become worried about the children in my care and so I started getting them to come to me and get them out of the room. I was having problems getting the children to come with me but eventually I got them all, or so I thought. I hurried them all to another room that I think was in another townhouse or apartment but found one child was missing. I ran back to my home and found the three-year old with the snake curling around it’s little body trying to squeeze the child to death. I woke up as I was trying to break the grip of the snake to get it off the child. My heart was pounding and I felt terrified as I awoke!
I was so shaken that I couldn’t go back to sleep because I would be dragged back into that nightmare. I got up and walked around the house for a while, got a drink, went to the bathroom, and tried to shake the dream off my mind. I finally went back to bed and just lay there for a long time. Then I prayed asking God to take the vivid memory of the dream from my mind and to allow me to sleep. God was merciful and answered my prayer and I slept but still dreamed. This time it was a lovely dream.
I was in another home with the same children and we were having such a fun afternoon. A nice young man had come to visit one of the children as he was the uncle and he was pleasant and charming. We were having afternoon tea with the children and we were all dressed up in costumes for the tea. It was really a warm and fuzzy type of dream and when I awoke this morning my first thought was how different the two dreams were. One was so terrifying, heart-pounding, and frightening while the other was pleasant, happy, and enjoyable. How could the two opposing dreams come out of my mind on the same night? But that is the mystery of dreamland, isn’t it? There was a King that had some nightmares too, King Nebuchadnezzar.
In the second year of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; his mind was troubled and he could not sleep. So the king summoned the magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and astrologers to tell him what he had dreamed. When they came in and stood before the king, he said to them, “I have had a dream that troubles me and I want to know what it means.” Daniel 2:1-3, (New International Version or NIV).
I sure can identify with King Neb’s difficulty sleeping after having such a nightmare. I can only imagine how the palace was buzzing with concern for the King because he was having trouble sleeping. Today we would probably advise the King to take a pill and go to sleep peacefully. But God was in the midst of this troubling dream and was going to use it to bring His Glory into the open through a little insignificant man named Daniel. Daniel was a captive who had been given the task of working for the King who conquered his homeland.
The king replied to the astrologers, “This is what I have firmly decided: If you do not tell me what my dream was and interpret it, I will have you cut into pieces and your houses turned into piles of rubble. But if you tell me the dream and explain it, you will receive from me gifts and rewards and great honor. So tell me the dream and interpret it for me.” Daniel 2:5-6, (NIV).
I bet those astrologers were very worried! So what happened when they could not tell the King his dream? He proceeded to carry out his threat! Wow!
The astrologers answered the king, “There is no one on earth who can do what the king asks! No king, however great and mighty, has ever asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or astrologer. What the king asks is too difficult. No one can reveal it to the king except the gods, and they do not live among humans.” This made the king so angry and furious that he ordered the execution of all the wise men of Babylon. So the decree was issued to put the wise men to death, and men were sent to look for Daniel and his friends to put them to death. When Arioch, the commander of the king’s guard, had gone out to put to death the wise men of Babylon, Daniel spoke to him with wisdom and tact. He asked the king’s officer, “Why did the king issue such a harsh decree?” Arioch then explained the matter to Daniel. At this, Daniel went in to the king and asked for time, so that he might interpret the dream for him. Daniel 2:10-16, (NIV).
Daniel was liked by the King and that was something that Daniel was aware of. Daniel had courage to ask to see the King and the King allowed the audience with Daniel. What I find interesting is that Daniel was so far down the political line of wise men who counsel the King that he wasn’t even asked by the wise men of the kingdom to help with the Kings dream. He was, however, under the same death sentence as the other wise men. It looks like the political intrigue and maneuverings of that kingdom are not all that different from our own day. We may not have kings and palaces but we do have power players surrounding the leaders of our country. God had a plan for Daniel to be promoted to a higher office as a counselor to the King. When God promotes someone there is always a purpose for the promotion. God wanted the country that Daniel was required to live in know that Daniel was a servant of the one true God. And so you can read the rest of the book of Daniel to see how God continued to work in the life of Daniel. It really is an amazing story.
I don’t believe that the nightmare I had or the happy dream that followed has any significance except to say that God was merciful to me by answering my prayer. God gave me a good night’s rest after a turbulent disruption of sleep. I am thankful for that rest. I just wanted to share my experience with you to encourage you that when the nightmares come God is bigger than the nightmare. God can answer your prayers too just as He did mine. The mercy of God extends even to me and a nightmare. How awesome you are Lord!