Explicitly Prophetic Dream

Explicitly Prophetic Dream

Don’t let the title of this brief story lead you to imagine more than you should. In my decades as a Christian, this is the only explicitly prophetic dream I ever had. The Holy Spirit has used dreams on several occasions to reveal things about my own heart, but nothing else similar to this.

For the summer between my graduating from college and starting graduate school, I worked in a research laboratory in Dallas as one of half a dozen lab assistants. We all got along well, and I enjoyed their company. I became especially close to one young woman whom I will call E, a few years older than I. She was an outspoken atheist, and enjoyed talking with me about things spiritual/religious.

I held nothing back in describing how real Jesus was to me, and in relating specific and sometimes dramatic answers to prayer. We probably had such discussions several times a week. Toward the end of the summer, E gave me a book by a then-famous author, an atheist whose name I have forgotten, who wrote both nonfiction and fiction. E had found this novel particularly engaging, and urged me to read it. In order to model for E the openness of my mind, I took the book home and read it over a period of a week or so. I found it dreadful and boring, but nevertheless paid careful attention to it because I figured E would want to discuss it.

One morning I woke out of a very detailed, realistic dream. In the dream, I walked into the lab first thing in the morning only to be told that a fellow lab tech, B, was out sick—the first time he had missed work all summer. Next in this dream, over our lunch break, E asked me, “Have you read the book?” Thereafter, the dream was a discussion between E and myself, first about the book, then generally about God. It was quite specific, and I recalled the entire discussion, word for word—something I never experienced before or since.

An hour or so later I walked into the lab, greeted everyone, and soon asked, “Where’s B?”

“Oh, he called in sick, and he won’t be in today.”

Hmmm, I thought, That was relatively interesting. Just in case it was in fact significant, I quickly asked for God’s especially strong presence and guidance for the day. I didn’t think much more about it until our lunch break, during which E sought me out and asked, “Have you read the book?” Those were her precise words.

That got my attention. Without even thinking much about it, I responded with the words I had said in my dream—but since they were my natural response, I wasn’t yet on “high alert.”

The dream then came back to me quite clearly, as if I were reading words on a page.

It’s important to note here that I am not an intellectually oriented person. I do not excel at, and whenever possible strive to avoid, all highly intellectual discussions. That’s because (1) I find them boring and uninteresting, and (2) I suck at them! Although I possess above-average intelligence, it is sluggish and slow to reveal itself. I sometimes am able to come up with intelligent-sounding responses to challenging intellectual pronouncements—but only an hour or so after the conversations have ended! It is my assumption that God provided a “cheat sheet” for me on this occasion because he knew that, on my own, I was in no way qualified to pursue this dialogue with a woman whose intellect was far superior to mine. And, presumably, God must have considered it to be an important occasion for E.

Then E said precisely what she had said in the dream! At that point my heart began to race, and I feared she might notice my slight hyperventilation. Apparently she didn’t.

Continuing to recall vividly what I had said in the dream, I parroted it back to her.

The conversation proceeded like that for a few minutes, with my following the “script” word for word and her following it also word-for-word. (I was sort of impressed: never before had I sounded so intellectually competent! I certainly could not have devised those responses on my own.) Then I realized the script was ending! According to my dream script, she had only one more statement, and I had one more. That was scary, since I definitely wasn’t up to continuing the conversation using my own resources. I don’t recall E’s last statement, but I do recall my final, “coup de grace” lines—at least the content, if not the precise words.

I pointed out that, given the logical stance on which she was basing her life—one of absolute skepticism about any religious or spiritual claim—she was in an untenable, irrational position. For if it turned out that God exists after all and that, say, Jesus is real, even if Jesus himself was standing before her in the flesh, she would completely miss out on the truth, she would deny him, because she was completely committed to denying any such thing.

That understanding seems obvious, almost trivial, to me now. At the time, however, there was no way I would have come up with it on the spot. Hence, presumably, my need for a script.

E looked vaguely as if she had been slapped. She stood motionless for a few seconds. She said (this hadn’t been in the dream, for the script had ended), “Oh! [pause]. . . I had never thought of that.” Then she turned and walked away.

I would love to report that E immediately fell onto her knees and confessed Jesus as Lord. But that didn’t happen. The summer was almost over. I don’t recall whether we had any more significant conversations after that. A week or so later, I was headed to graduate school in Austin. I never saw or heard from E again (I don’t even recall her name). But I trust that my Lord would not have gone to the trouble of providing a script for that conversation if he hadn’t planned to use it for her blessing. I expect to be able to ask her, after the resurrection, to fill in the details.