20But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." Matthew 1:19-21
Can you imagine the turmoil that was going through Joseph's mind at this time? Here he had been betrothed to Mary, and now she's pregnant- and not with his child. What is a man to do in this case? I imagine he went back and forth and in so many directions, trying to decide what to do. I am certain that he even had trouble sleeping because of the decision he had to make. Our gracious God, though, gave Joseph an answer while he was dreaming. An angel appeared to Joseph in his dreams and assured him that staying with Mary was the right thing to do. And we all know what happened after that. Joseph heeded the advice given in his dream, and became the earthly father to Jesus.
Admittedly, it never occurred to me that God could use a dream to give an answer to a question. I've definitely had many, many dreams that I've considered for direction, but mostly, they all direct me towards one thing- seeking more of God in one way or the other. But the other day. I think I got a very clear answer to a question that I'd been pondering for several weeks. It really wasn't a huge life-changing thing, but it was an answer nonetheless, and I'd like to share how things happened, so that maybe sometime if God gives you an answer in a dream, you will know that the dream really was your answer.
Over the last month or so, I've been assembling the books and things we need for the coming school year. It has not gone as smoothly as I'd hoped, as the funds just haven't been there as I'd anticipated. Planning for the coming school year has been interesting, as I've had to break up the year into pieces, and I've been accumulating the things we need for the first few months, and then hopefully later on we'll be able to pick up the rest of the things we need. Anyway, one of the things I was seriously considering was selling our literature from last year. It would be a way to get some of the funds needed for the next year. But as I looked at this pile of wonderful, wonderful books that we've loved so much, I knew we'd come back to them. In three years Zander will be doing that core again, and it seemed silly to me to sell them, only to have to buy them again. And yet, it would be a way to get a nice chunk of money to help pay for the new books for this year.
Ah, the dilemma. It wasn't weighing on me heavily, but it was there. I am a book person anyway, and our school books aren't simply textbooks and workbooks- they are literature books- wonderful stories and biographies that have been written by talented writers. It always is difficult for me to get rid of any books in the first place, and here I was considering getting rid of books that I KNEW I was going to need again. In the back of my mind too, I know how expensive the curriculum is that we are using, and if I sold these books used, someone out there would be insanely blessed by getting all these books used- they would be able to afford their school year. I just couldn't decide.
And then one night, I had a dream. I had a dream that I was a little girl, and I was riding on the back of a horse drawn wagon- also in the wagon was a brother- infant to toddler aged. While we rode in the wagon, I was holding a very large stack of books- they were heavy, but I wanted to protect them and make sure they arrived at our destination, so I was hanging onto them ever so carefully.
And then there was an accident. The wagon lurched, and I and my brother toppled off the wagon. I was still holding onto my books, but my little brother landed in a river and started flowing downstream away from me. There was no one else to save him except me, but there I was holding on to this precious stack of books, and I didn't want to just drop them in the river where they would certainly be ruined. The longer I stood there holding this bundle of books, the farther away my little brother got as the flow of the river was carrying him farther and farther away.
I don't think there was an end to that dream, but I did wake up later on with a real impression from that dream. I was holding onto these books like they were really something precious, when really, they are just books. I knew that God had given me an answer to my dilemma, I needed to let go of the books I was hanging onto. This morning I will be heading to the post office to mail a rather large box of books to a family in Texas, who I hope will enjoy these books as much as we have. Because I listened to my dream, I will be able to purchase a goodly amount of the remaining books we need. Not all of them, but enough that I think we can start school on schedule. And in three years when we need these books again, I am confident that I will have no problem gathering the books again. And who knows- maybe the curriculum will have changed slightly, and there will be new and more wonderful books added to the pile.
The whole point of sharing this today is that sometimes, an answer can come to us in a dream. Just as Joseph received an answer all those years ago, God can still use our dreams to give us direction. That which He has done for another, He can also do for us. Now, I still strongly suggest that if you do think God has given you an answer to an important question in a dream, that you seek good counsel too. Share what you think God is telling you with a mentor or an elder. In my case, I think selling some books was not a dramatic and serious question that required much spiritual counsel. Yet it was an answer for me, and I really felt good when I put that box up books up for sale, and I felt even better when I saw that someone did want to purchase them. I hope He'll use the opportunity to talk to me even more in my dreams- waking up in the morning with a surefire answer was so wonderful- and so from God. He is so good to use dreams as a way to talk to us.