by Mark Overstreet
(Editor’s note: With this blog post we continue a new series, “The Stories within the Story.” Each article will include how to use specific passages and stories in scripture in gospel witness.”
“I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.” (Dan. 7:13-14)
In much of the world, spiritual dreams and visions are not unusual. Among many of the people groups with whom I work, receiving a dream or vision remains a normal part of life.
On a recent trip through Africa and the Middle East, I found myself in a deep conversation with a new friend. Abdul Wajid,* has dreamed of spiritual things since he was a young boy. He believed in a great creator, but he did not believe that his faith was the only truth. For Abdul Wajid, he knew there must be more to faith than what his imam could explain.
Over the course of the next hours, he explained a dream he recently had. His vision contained vivid imagery of power and authority. He knew that the figure in the dream was connected with God, but he was in the form of a man. Perhaps he was a prophet, Abdul wondered. Perhaps he was among God’s chosen ones or a great king.
Abdul Wajid is not alone. Many struggle to understand whether God could be a man. As I listened to him share, I prayed for wisdom and asked God for help. As he shared, just as God promised (James 1:5), I thought of an Ancient Babylonian vision from over 2,500 years ago.
I spoke the words of the dream to him and asked Abdul what he thought. He was amazed. He had never heard words like this before. You could see the thoughts racing through his mind.
We talked for hours. We shared our questions, listened to one another, and he confessed he had never considered that all the nations could one day serve a king, a man of God’s own choosing.
We discussed who that might be. Our time was short. Abdul Wajid knew nothing of Jesus or The Way. All he knew about Christianity he had learned from his imam. So we talked, and I walked from Genesis through the Prophets and Writings. I explained how Daniel’s dream fit into the way God has worked from the beginning of time. He gets to choose His King.
For the first time in his life, Abdul Wajid was confronted with the fact that he had never considered that God can do whatever He wants. For the first time, he understood that God could rule the world through the hands of a son, a man, and his kingdom would not pass away.
We talked, we prayed, and I asked him if I could introduce him to a follower of Jesus who lived near him. He acknowledged he wanted to know more about these words.
Please pray for Abdul Wajid and for his meetings with our friend. Pray they would visit, share, and hear from God’s word. Pray God would open his ears and heart to understand the fulfillment of this Ancient Babylonian vision. He is here. He is with us.
Are you listening to the word? Are you looking for those whom God places in your path to listen to their stories and share the word with them? Are you asking God to share His light through you among those who live without peace? He is our only hope.
*Name changed for security reasons.
Mark Overstreet (@moverstreet) is vice president of T4 Global and serves fourth world cultures in leadership development and community transformation. He consults with global organizations in areas including healthy partnerships, orality, mission, program architecture, strategy, and evaluation. Learn more: http://www.markoverstreet.com