Do dreams ever really come true? Is there meaning and purpose behind our deepest desires, or are they simply foolish fantasies that will inevitably leave us disappointed?
As Christians, we know that our sovereign God has meticulously crafted each of us with specific skills, passions, and dreams for a reason (Psalm 139:13-16). He works through all things in our lives to conform us to the image of Christ (Romans 8:28-29). The dreams He’s planted in our hearts are no exception.
But let’s be real: sometimes our dreams feel far away. Circumstances don’t always line up on our preferred timeline. Year after year can pass while we wait patiently on God. We may even start to wonder if certain dreams will ever materialize.
In this comprehensive blog post, we’ll explore what the Bible teaches about God-given dreams and whether they ever truly come true. We’ll look at examples of dreams fulfilled and unfulfilled in Scripture, unpack keys to seeing dreams realized, and discover how to wait well in the meantime. Read on to gain spiritual wisdom, insight, and encouragement for your heart’s deepest desires!
- God gives each of us unique dreams and desires for a purpose
- Not all dreams are from God – we must test them against Scripture
- God’s timing is perfect, even when we have to wait many years to see a dream fulfilled
- Active faith and perseverance are key to seeing dreams come true
- God can do the impossible and works all things for our good
- The ultimate dream come true is eternal life through Jesus
Dreams in the Bible
To understand if dreams can come true, we first need to explore what Scripture says about dreams overall. The Bible references dreams nearly 200 times, usually falling into one of three categories:
1. Visions from God
Some biblical dreams were direct visions from the Lord, providing guidance, revelation, or prophecy. For example:
- Jacob’s visionary dream of a stairway to heaven, where God promised him descendants, land, protection, and blessing (Genesis 28:10-15)
- Joseph’s dreams foretelling his future leadership and his brother’s bowing down to him (Genesis 37:5-11)
- Daniel’s visions interpreting Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams (Daniel 2)
- Joseph’s dream commanding him to wed Mary and name Jesus (Matthew 1:20-21)
- Peter’s vision revealing God’s acceptance of the Gentiles into the faith (Acts 10:9-16)
- John’s apocalyptic dream revealing future events in Revelation
Biblical dreams and visions confirmed God’s purposes and plans. They guided people towards righteous action aligned with God’s will.
2. Divine warnings
Other dreams served as warnings or revelations of sin which required a change of heart and direction. Examples include:
- Abimelech’s dream warning against adultery with Abraham’s wife Sarah (Genesis 20:3-7)
- Jacob’s dream revealing Laban’s unjust labor practices (Genesis 31:10-13)
- Solomon’s dream directing him to ask for wisdom to lead God’s people (1 Kings 3:5-15)
- Pilate’s wife’s dream warning against condemning Jesus (Matthew 27:19)
Through these dreams, God made people aware of sins or dangers so they could correct their path.
3. Symbolic dreams requiring interpretation
Finally, some biblical dreams were symbolic representations requiring interpretation. For instance:
- Joseph interpreting Pharaoh’s dreams about upcoming famine (Genesis 41:1-36)
- Daniel interpreting Nebuchadnezzar’s dream about a mighty tree being chopped down (Daniel 4:4-27)
- Daniel interpreting handwriting on Belshazzar’s wall (Daniel 5:13-28)
These meaningful yet cryptic dreams demonstrate God’s sovereignty; only He holds the true interpretation.
Overall we see God actively speaking through dreams throughout Scripture, whether to guide people, warn them, or give prophetic glimpses of the future. This confirms that our Creator can and does use dreams to communicate.
Can Impossible Dreams Come True?
If God grants dreams for a purpose, do they always come true eventually? Or are some forever out of reach?
On the one hand, we serve a mighty, sovereign God for whom nothing is impossible (Luke 1:37). He declared that His purposes will be established, and no one can thwart His plans (Isaiah 14:24-27). With God, even lifelong dreams are possible.
Consider a few biblical dreams that seemingly came true against all odds:
The elderly Abraham and Sarah birthing a nation: God promised Abraham endless descendants at age 75. After waiting many decades, he and Sarah miraculously conceived Isaac in their old age, launching the nation of Israel (Genesis 15-21).
Joseph rising from slave to ruler: As a boy, Joseph had God-given dreams of ruling over his family. Though his brothers sold him into slavery, in God’s timing he ascended from prisoner to Pharaoh’s right hand man in Egypt (Genesis 37-50).
Israel’s centuries-long dream of a homeland: For 400+ years Israelites lived as foreigners and slaves with no land of their own. But God fulfilled His covenant promise and gave them Canaan (Genesis 15:13-16, Joshua 1:1-9).
Hannah’s lifelong longing for a child: She sobbed and prayed desperately for a son year after year. The Lord finally answered her prayer, giving her Samuel, who became a great prophet and judge (1 Samuel 1).
What seems humanly impossible is more than possible with God! He reminds us, “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27).
On the other hand, sometimes God says no. Certain dreams don’t align with His sovereign plan for our lives. We see this with Moses not entering the Promised Land, David not building the Temple, and Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” not being removed (Deuteronomy 34:4, 2 Samuel 7:12-13, 2 Corinthians 12:7-9).
While God can do anything, He won’t do everything we ask for or dream of. His ways and timing are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9). But we can rest assured that His perfect plan will unfold. Even unfulfilled dreams have purpose in shaping and refining us.
The key is seeking God’s will, not presuming His approval of our every desire. We’ll explore this concept more soon.
Biblical Principles for Fulfilled Dreams
How then can we discern which dreams God wants to bless and fulfill? Scripture reveals several keys:
1. Delight in the Lord first: We must prioritize intimacy with God above all else. As we take pleasure in Him, He deposits His dreams in our hearts (Psalm 37:4).
2. Test dreams against Scripture: God won’t affirm visions contradicting His Word and character. We must examine dreams in light of biblical truth (Isaiah 8:20).
3. Walk in holiness: Sin corrupts and obscures God’s will. As we repent and obey, His Spirit guides us into righteous dreams (Psalm 19:7-9).
4. Actively step out in faith: God blesses faith in action. As we follow promptings, attempt dreams, and trust Him, He directs our path (James 2:14-26).
5. Persevere in prayer: Breakthrough often requires persistent, passionate prayer. As we bring requests consistently to God, He works (Luke 18:1-8).
6. Wait expectantly on God’s timing: If a dream lingers unfulfilled, we must trust God’s perfect plan and timing. His delays ready us (James 1:2-4).
7. Hold dreams loosely: Dreams won’t satisfy if we elevate them above God. He alone is worthy of our ultimate devotion (Psalm 62:1-7).
Let’s unpack each principle.
Delight in the Lord
Our first priority must be intimacy with God – delighting ourselves in Him through prayer, worship, meditation on His Word, and obedient living.
As we prioritize seeking Christ above all else, He fills our hearts with righteous desires and dreams (Psalm 37:4). Closeness with God ensure our dreams align with His purposes rather than fleshly lusts.
Psalm 37:4 promises, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” This doesn’t mean God grants all our fleshly wishes. But when we’re yielded to the Spirit, He deposits His pure desires and dreams within.
Test Dreams Against Scripture
Because not all dreams come from God, we must filter them through the truth of Scripture. God will never affirm a dream that contradicts His holy character or commands.
Isaiah 8:20 urges, “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.“
For example, a married man shouldn’t pursue his dream of fame through an adulterous affair. Or an addict shouldn’t chase the “dream” of drinking himself to death. These violate biblical morality.
Proverbs 12:15 warns, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But he who heeds counsel is wise.” We shouldn’t assume every desire seems right to us aligns with God’s will. Scripture soberly assesses our motivations.
As Christians, the Bible is our ultimate authority – the compass guiding us towards Truth. Dreams that veer from its teachings must be rejected.
Walk in Holiness
Sinful habits cloud our connection with God, distort our ability to discern His will, and give the enemy footholds in our lives. That’s why pursuing holiness is essential.
As we repent of sin and walk in obedience, the Spirit enlightens us and guides us into righteous dreams. Our moral compass aligns with our Creator’s.
Psalm 19:7-9 (NKJV) praises God’s Word for this very purpose:
The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes
Conversely, sin darkens understanding. That’s why Paul urges believers to “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them” (Ephesians 5:11).
Sanctification is crucial if we want to perceive and pursue God-honoring dreams. By obeying Scripture, we’re empowered to do so.
Actively Step Out in Faith
Once we have a dream we believe aligns with God’s will, we shouldn’t just wait passively. God wants us to actively pursue dreams in faith.
James 2 makes clear that faith without works is dead. We must demonstrate faith through action:
But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? (James 2:18-20 NKJV)
When God gives a dream, He expects us to follow nudges, pursue opportunities, work diligently, and trust Him to direct us. As we attempt a God-honoring dream, He makes our paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Think of biblical figures who boldly stepped out: Noah building the ark, Joshua conquering Canaan, Esther risking her life, or the apostles spreading the Gospel. God miraculously furthered their dreams through active faith.
When we feel God is calling us to pursue a dream, we must do more than wait for Him to make it happen. We should research, make connections, work hard, problem-solve, and actively walk through doors He opens, trusting Him all the while.
Persevere in Prayer
Pushing towards a dream inevitably involves setbacks and closed doors. This can lead to discouragement if we lose sight of God’s sovereignty.
That’s why persevering in prayer is so crucial. Through consistent, passionate, faith-filled prayer, we gain strength, insight, and endurance to keep pursuing dreams despite difficulties.
Luke 18:1 shares the parable of a persistent widow appealing to an unjust judge. Though he initially rejected her plea for justice, “Because this widow troubles me I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.” (Luke 18:5 NKJV)
Jesus explains the meaning:
Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. (Luke 18:6-8a NKJV)
Like this persistent widow, we must be devoted to prayer if we hope to see dreams fulfilled. Storming heaven through continual prayer moves God’s mighty hand to action.
Wait Expectantly on God’s Timing
Despite active faith, some dreams don’t materialize overnight. What should we do when years pass while we wait for a dream?
First, rejoice that God is working a deeper purpose than just granting our request. His delays allow character development.
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. (James 1:2-4 NKJV)
Waiting builds Christlike patience, endurance, and maturity. God cares more about shaping us than handing us dreams instantly. His timing is perfect.
Secondly, while waiting keep seeking God through prayer. Don’t lose hope or give up. He works everything out for our good in His flawless timing (Romans 8:28).
As Psalm 27:14 urges, “Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!”
Hold Dreams Loosely
Finally, remember that no dream should become an idol competing with God for our affection. He alone is worthy of our whole heart (Matthew 22:36-38).
We must hold dreams loosely, willing to surrender them to God’s sovereignty. As Psalm 62:5-7 proclaims:
Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. (NIV)
If a dream remains unfulfilled, we can rest confidently in God’s care and wisdom. His nearness satisfies our souls above any dream.
Faith That Can Move Mountains
With this biblical foundation, let’s explore how to wait well as we walk out God-given dreams. Scripture calls us to audacious faith that can move mountains.
First, boldly ask God for the dream in prayer, fully believing He can do the impossible.
Jesus said in Matthew 21:21-22:
Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will …if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done. And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive. (NKJV)
Present the dream to God believing He can shatter any obstacle or limitation standing in the way. Mountain-moving faith unleashes God’s miraculous power.
Next, act on any steps God reveals through prayer and righteous counsel, while trusting His timing. Your role is faithful stewardship; God’s role is determine the season of fulfillment.
Finally, if a dream remains unmet for years, refuse bitterness or discouragement. God promises He is still working for your good to shape Christlike character. Lean on His grace daily, and remain ready to act when He opens the door.
As Moses instructed Joshua before conquering Canaan after decades of wandering, “Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid … for the Lord your God is He who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6 NKJV)
Our Savior is with us through every season. His purposes stand firm.
The Ultimate Dream Fulfilled in Christ
As we conclude, remember that our deepest longings find their final answer in Christ alone. Knowing Jesus is the ultimate dream fulfilled.
The apostle Paul counted everything else as loss compared to, “the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ.” (Philippians 3:8 NKJV)
Augustine echoed this in his Confessions: “You have made us for Yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You.”
Through faith, we’ve already received the supreme gift of eternal life with God. All other dreams pale in comparison. Regardless of whether lesser dreams are fulfilled on earth, Jesus remains our stunning dream come true.
With Paul, we can declare:
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. (Romans 8:18 NKJV)
Christ’s finished work guarantees our eternal inheritance. What more could we dream of than forever enjoying unbroken fellowship with God? All other desires will be exposed as empty shadows next to the reality of His immediate presence and pleasure.
So while God delights to bless us on earth, let’s keep first things first. As we walk out His unique callings, we can trust Him fully knowing the best is yet to come. Our eternal dream of seeing Jesus face to face will complete and exceed every longing. What a wonderful dream destined to come true!
In closing, Scripture makes clear that our wise and loving Creator places specific dreams in each of our hearts for His glory.
While not every dream we have comes from God, those that originate from Him will come to pass in His perfect timing if we walk in obedience and faith.
We must hold our dreams with open hands, willing to surrender our own timelines to the Lord’s. Earthly dreams are meant to draw us closer to our Creator, not replace Him as our primary joy.
Take comfort that God uses both fulfilled and unfulfilled dreams to shape us into the image of Christ. His plans for our lives are good, and His way is flawless.
No matter what desires stir in your heart, anchor your hope in the bedrock truth that eternal life with Jesus is the ultimate dream come true. Keep your eyes fixed on Him as you walk out your purpose.
At the end of your life, you will look back with awe and gratitude for the way God wrote your unique story. You will see how He interwove your dreams – realized and deferred – together into a beautiful tapestry for your good and His glory.
On that day, hear your Father say: “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Lord.” (Matthew 25:23). As C.S. Lewis wrote, “The door on which we have been knocking all our lives will open at last.”
Until then, take courage. Your dreams have purpose. God is with you each step of the way. And the best is yet to come!