June 9th, 2015
This week I was asked in a radio interview whether it is possible for an IS fighter to come to faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior through dreams. The background was the story of a man who had killed Christians and experienced several times that Jesus appeared to him in a dream. See IS fighter dreams about Jesus.
I was reminded of what Muslims in the Middle East told me. If someone needs to make a choice between two good things, the answer cannot be found in the Qur’an. This can be the case with a job or house or spouse. Muslims don’t experience God’s guidance the way Christians do, such as hearing the (inner) voice of God (John 10:1-16) or the peace of God’s Spirit in their hearts (Philippians 4:6-7). Still, they can ask God for help.
A friend explained it in the following way. Suppose you don’t know whether you should accept a new job offer, you can pray extra prayers at sunrise and ask God to give you a dream. When you go back to sleep again, you take note of what you dream. If you have a pleasant dream in which you are successful, it is right to take the new step. If, however, you have a nightmare, you are warned that the new step is not right.
This indicates how highly Muslims value dreams, something many Christians in the West seem to have lost. The Bible is full of examples of God speaking through dreams, both to believers and unbelievers. I think about the god-fearing Joseph in Egypt and Joseph the father of Jesus and the wise men, but also the unbelieving Pharaoh and his baker and cupbearer and the world leader Nebuchadnezzar. And though the Bible doesn’t contain concrete examples of Christians having dreams, God promised that people would dream dreams after the outpouring of His Spirit (Acts 2:17).
Besides dreams, God also promised to give visions. This He did to both Christians and non-Christians. Thus the god-fearing Roman Cornelius saw an angel in a vision (Acts 10:3-6) and the persecutor Saul saw a vision after his encounter with Jesus the Messiah (Acts 9:12).
Based on the Biblical promise and examples we may be assured that God speaks through dreams and visions. On top of that, Muslims have a strong receptivity toward God’s speaking through dreams. It need not be a surprise then, that Jesus the Messiah appears to so many adherents of the Islamic faith.
Christians may pray for that specifically, both concerning IS fighters (see my letter elsewhere on this site) as for Muslims in general. Especially during Ramadhan, the month of fasting, many Muslims seek God seriously. Please visit www.30daysprayer.com for a great tool to help you pray daily from June 18th till July 17th for the physical and spiritual descendants of Ishmael.