Pandemic Dreams—and God’s Vision!

By Mark A. Kellner
Posted May 19, 2020

Sleep is one of the many universal functions being affected by the stress of the pandemic crisis and lockdown. In the United Kingdom, King’s College London reported the following results from a recent survey: 

“Two in five people in the UK have reported sleep disturbance. Prof[.] Bobby Duffy, the research lead and director of the Policy Institute at King’s, says: ‘There is a clear relationship between increased stress and impact on sleep; 53 [percent] of those who said they found the crisis stressful reported sleep difficulties.’”

In an April 13 article in The New York Times, it was stated that “the Google query ‘why am i having weird dreams lately’ [had] quadrupled in the United States in the past week.”


Virus Fears Disturb Sleep

In the event of a major crisis, it appears that the landscape of people’s dreams commonly shifts to afford for the effects of that crisis. As a result, many people are now dreaming of being infected with the novel coronavirus.

Deirdre Barrett, an assistant professor of psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, is collecting a survey of “pandemic dreams” during the global lockdown.

Among the dreams in her survey are those representing metaphors of COVID-19: “I’ve just seen dozens and dozens and dozens of every kind of bug imaginable attacking the dreamer: There are swarms of every kind of flying insect you’ve ever heard of; there are armies of cockroaches racing at the dreamer; there are masses of wriggling worms; there were some grasshoppers with vampire fangs; there are bed bugs, stink bugs,” she told The Harvard Gazette.

According to Barrett, these literal bugs are representations of the coronavirus “bug.”

“Pandemic dreams” are also occurring in children, reported National Geographic. Callie Greer, 6, dreamed that there was “dirt on everything. It was all over her classroom, on the floor, on the ceiling, on her crayons, and on her shoes. It was on the other kids’ hands, and it was on her teacher’s hands too. She could see all of this because of her new superpower: extreme vision that showed the world’s every detail.”

Her father, Willie Greer, noted, “She spent the entire [dream] telling people not to touch her. No one wanted to talk to her anymore. Then one of her classmates decided to chase her, and that’s when she woke up.”

In the case of front-line health care workers, Barrett noted that dreams have descended into full-blown “trauma nightmares.” These tend to be more realistic than those of the general public and focus on “the worst moment from their daytime experiences.”


Biblical Dreams

What about God and dreams? The Bible has a lot to say about them. Dreams are actually one of the ways in which God can communicate with us: “If there is a prophet among you, I, the LORD, … speak to him in a dream” (Numbers 12:6). But prophets are not the only ones privy to dreams from God. Scripture tells us of people of every stature, from common men and women to patriarchs and kings, who received these nighttime visions.

But the Bible is also careful to note that not all dreams come from God—and that while God cannot lie, people do: “The diviners envision lies, and tell false dreams” (Zechariah 10:2). There are many false prophets out in the world—perhaps better known to us today as fortune tellers or palm readers—but the Bible warns us to test everything, including dreams, against Scripture itself (Isaiah 8:20). 

When God speaks to a person in a dream, it is often to deliver a message of warning, as when He instructed Joseph to take Mary and Jesus to Egypt in order to escape persecution from King Herod (Matthew 2:13), or a message of hope, as when He foretold to a discouraged Jacob that he was to be the father of the nation of Israel (Genesis 28:12–15). As we see, God’s purpose in sending dreams to us is to deliver, to save, to sanctify, to encourage: “All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).

But the accounts in the Bible all happened a long time ago. Does God still communicate to people through dreams? In the book of Joel, God prophesizes what will happen when the “latter rain” of the Holy Spirit is poured out shortly before the return of Jesus and the end of the present age: “And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions” (Joel 2:28). Yes, even today, God can still communicate through dreams—and prophecy assures us that He will!

As Pastor Doug Batchelor noted in a video sermon “Angels, Dreams, and Visions,” available free online, this is all part of God’s glorious love for us: “Sin separated us from God. The plan of salvation is restored communication with the Lord. This message has come to us through angels, dreams, and visions.”

Turn your mind’s eye upon Jesus that you may hear Him when He speaks to you. Read the Bible, pray, and thank God for His goodness toward us.

Making these daily practices will not only prepare you to receive Him, it will help you to get a good night’s rest too! While the National Geographic article suggests certain practices highly not recommended for a peaceful sleep, we urge you to follow Jesus’ evening habits—and close out the day in communion with God (Matthew 14:23).

Mark Kellner
Mark A. Kellner is a staff writer for Amazing Facts International. He is a veteran journalist whose work has been published in Religion News Service, The Washington Times, and numerous computer magazines.
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