The word dream is used variously to mean both that product of the subconscious mind while we sleep and the conscious fruit of the mind that dares actively to envision that which is not. Both are valid uses of the word, and the two are not as disparate as many think.
Joseph dreamed a dream in his sleep, Martin Luther King Jr. in his soul. “I have a dream” is perhaps the most exhilarating, attractive, dangerous, wondrous announcement we can make about ourselves. Intimidated or inspired, repulsed, or magnetized, the world responds to a dream received. The power of a dream received can polarize a society, transform a culture, start a work, or end an evil.
A dream transmitted, even transmitted by heaven, is useless without a willing receptor. Even so, there are unanswerables. For example, is God constantly granting dreams to the many, and only a few receive? What makes God give dreams in peculiar, unique ways to certain receptors? This does not always seem to relate to the talent or intelligence of the receptor. And why does one potential receptor receive and another reject the dream God sends?
Though we certainly do not have all these answers, there are some things we know. One is that God is sovereign. Why God chose Saul of Tarsus to become the apostle Paul may not be entirely obvious. That He chose Saul of Tarsus, not some poor schlep named Ludlow of Dubuqe, is the important part. God chooses because He is God, and He grants dreams, great and small, as He wills and to whom He chooses.
Furthermore, we know that not every dream from God is received. God gave a dream to His people in the wilderness, communicated it clearly, repeated it, and reinforced it miraculously. But in Kadesh Barnea, the Hebrews rejected the dreamed-of land and turned back into the desert to die.
Fear is the major cause of disconnect between the transmission of the dream and its reception. Only Joshua and Caleb proved worthy dreamers in their entire generation. For forty years they alone kept the dream alive, and when the way was cleared of the cowardly, Joshua got a nation and Caleb his mountain. Faith, not fear, receives dreams and keeps them nourished when all reason dictates otherwise.
We can push past our natural fear and into confidence only by knowing that He who gives the dream will also bring it to pass. Not sure if your dream is from God? Fine. Put it back, and keep on putting it back in His hands, not rejecting it, but committing it to him.
Excerpt taken from the book, Dream, by Dr. Mark Rutland