Literal or Parable?

Dear Andrea,Please tell me your interpretation of this dream. I have dreamed that a man is having a heart attack and he clinches his heart he goes down and passes out. No one comes to aid him. Could this possibly be a dream that is showing me what may happen to this person because I do know him.

Please advise


Dear Angela,

First, as the bible says of dream interpretation, “it is not in me” (Gen 41:16) but rather, “interpretations belong to God.” (Gen 40:8) What I know in general, I share, and interpret only when He gives one, and even then I am cautious, in awareness of my own fallen human condition. Anything I tell you, He must confirm to you in prayer.

Most dreams are not literal, but parabolic, and are usually about yourself. What characteristic, personality trait, strength, or weakness stands out to you about him? It’s possible he represents the same trait in yourself.

It’s also possible, if you’ve had concerns about his health, that the dream only reflects your own human fears. Strongly felt emotions, especially ones we won’t deal with while awake, often get expressed in our dreams.

The heart attack, whether you sense it’s about you or him, could be literal, but as dreams speak symbolically most of the time, it’s probably symbolic of emotional trauma rather than physical. Whether it’s your own, or you sensing this happening to him, the thrust of the dream’s concern seems to be no one helping, doing anything about it.

If this friend isn’t a Christian, if he’s dying, the death of an unbeliever sometimes is symbolic of their coming to Christ. But if that doesn’t strike a bell (you will usually “know it when you hear it” with a right interpretation), I sense more the cry of your own heart, whether on your behalf or his, than a message from God, which is perfectly fine. When our dreams reveal something weighing on our hearts, the best response is to take the concern to God in prayer. And the sad thing is . . . there are a lot of people out there, suffering from spiritual and emotional attacks, with no one coming to their aid.

If your primary emotion in the dream is compassion (with possibly anger that no one is helping him) rather than fear, it is also possibly a call to intercessory prayer on the behalf of hurting hearts. Sometimes, our heart’s cry is also God’s.

In Christ’s Grace,
Andrea Graham
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