Do Dreams Have Meaning?

I’ve often wondered whether dreams have meaning. Good dreams, bad dreams, sometimes just plain crazy dreams. Random and capricious, dreams often leave me to think that they don’t have meaning. And then an unforgettable one comes like one did last night, and I have to revise my opinion. This one contained truth in it.

The dream begins at a party:

I am in Cambodia at a village. Thy’s mother is there and she looks better than I have ever seen her–like a new woman. You have to understand that she is a widow and a Khmer Rouge survivor who has seen more hard times than most people do in their lifetime. In the dream, she was positively glowing.

With a big smile on her face she said to me, “Dustin, we are so glad you are here. You have something to tell us all. Why don’t you tell us now?” She looks so beautiful, vibrant, just lovely. And the way that she asks the question leaves me no choice but to speak to the people at the gathering.

As the crowd settles in to listen, I stand there and think, “What do I have to talk about?” It is yet another situation in which I find myself in front of people having prepared nothing to say (true to life)! But I feel at home and don’t fret. I look around for something to trigger thoughts and notice that I am holding a milk carton. I take a swig, notice how fresh and sweet it tastes, and then begin to talk to the group of Cambodians.

“You see this carton of milk. It tastes so good, and is fresh and sweet. The milk is here to nourish our bodies and minds–to renew and restore us for life.” I take the milk to Thy’s mom, and ask her to smell it. She does, smiles, and says that it smells good. Then I ask her, “Now, what would happen to the milk if I left it out for two weeks?”

She replied, “It would smell very bad, and get lumpy, and spoil. You wouldn’t be able to drink it any more.”

“That’s right,” I replied. “This is the way of good things in the world. For a while they are with us and we can enjoy them, but often they eventually spoil.

“There is only one thing in life that is good that will remain good for us forever. You see, the milk is like Jesus–fresh and sweet. He is nourishment for our minds and hearts, restores our broken spirit and soul, but he will never go bad. He is always good, and will never leave us or turn on us.”

I woke up amazed both by the dream’s clarity and the lesson in it. The Bible says that the word of God is nourishing, like both milk and meat. Oddly enough,  I don’t drink milk, and neither do Cambodians. They used to tease and say that foreigners have a dairy smell to them, like cheese!

Dreams are strange things, but I believe that they also have a purpose. Sometimes the are just dreams. But sometimes they contain lessons, purpose, and truth. And why not?

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God….

Romans 8:28

What do you think? Have you had dreams that taught you something, or changed your life in some way?

About the Author

Dustin White


  1. Jim


    Wow! Great dream! Definitely seems to be giving insight/encouragement of how you are interacting with people in Cambodia. Got Milk?!!

    Reminds me of the song by Otis Redding, “I’ve got dreams to Remember”. Yes, I have been taught not necessarily by the content in the dreams, but by the process/receiving of the dreams. The teaching I received is learning that the dreams that I sometimes get, aren’t for me, but for someone else, as weird as that sounds. And to have the trust that these dreams/mysteries can only be revealed by a loving Creator. I am reminded of the historical account of a king who had a bad dream, that nobody could interpret; except one guy who prayed to God. (Daniel 2:26-28). That there is a God in heaven; who speaks to us through dreams that have impact in our lives. It’s one thing to have a fantasy; riding on a purple flying dolphin in search of golden trinket. It is another to wake up from a vivid dream that engages your heart with people you know in real situations, and have a sense that you are supposed to share this with someone for their encouragement, protection.

    I have only had a few of these dream for others experiences, but when I have; I’ve been taught by God to trust to share the dreams with the person who was in the dream, it has been amazing to hear from the receivers how accurately the dream I had, spoke into their situation. It is rather humbling to know that there is a God who see everything we do, and cares about us so much; that He intervenes, speaks, and guides us from what could be dangerous for us using the mysterious ways of dreams.

    May we pay attention to the dreams we get, for our sake, as well as for those around us.


    • Wow, Jim, thanks so much!

      I have been the recipient of such dreams from others…as you know! It is further evidence that dreams can teach, warn, and inspire. Perhaps we should pay a little more careful attention to what is going on inside of our heads while we sleep. Maybe we’ll find some of the clues that we need for life.

      Thanks again!

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