Recently I had occasion to attend the college graduation party of a good friend of one of our daughters. These graduations are an important turning point as life can change dramatically after them. I know I was so proud when that day came for me!
Having followed and prayed for the young graduate and her sisters for years, I looked forward to meeting their mother. I knew that there had been concern over one of the daughters, so it didn’t take me long to move the conversation to a more intimate level. I exposed some things I had gone through with one of my children in order to help her feel comfortable sharing.
We had a lot in common— our season in life, our world-view… but when I mentioned that I had a dream interpretation ministry, she acted as if she hadn’t heard me (but I knew she had). Clearly she thought that was weird at the least, perhaps a heretic.
Since I’d opened that box, I decided to convey more about it; to give her a taste of what it was like to hear from God on personal issues. I shared 2 or 3 short dream testimonies in conjunction with some of the challenges I had faced connected to parenting. I was honest and vulnerable with her. She, in turn, was the same.
That’s when I began to slip into the conversation that I had real expectations for positive outcomes concerning one of our children who was currently on a wrong path. My confidence was based, I expressed, on what the Lord had revealed to me privately… in dreams. And I didn’t neglect to mention that dreams from God are largely symbolic because— as Jesus demonstrated, “parable” is God’s default language.
We continued to get to know each other as I anticipated ministering to her in some way. Then the statement that threw me came. As if she were stating the conclusion of our whole conversation about grown kids who were still struggling, she summed it up by saying, “Well, we can HOPE.”
You know that tone of voice; the defeated one. You’ve seen that facial expression, a kind of animated question mark. She was saying that we have absolutely no way of having even an indication of what God has to say about it, what plans He has concerning it, or how we could impact it. We simply can’t know what God’s going to do or what’s going to happen even in the vaguest sense.
And we have no power over it apart from personal manipulation— maybe dropping a few hints, nagging or applying some kind of leverage. We could try a few worldly tactics; but other than that, we just have to throw up our hands, keep praying (of course), and HOPE for the best.
The kind of hope she was expressing was the TYPE 1 HOPE as defined in the American Heritage Dictionary:
1. “To wish for a particular event that one considers possible; to desire something considered possible; the longing or desire for something accompanied by the belief in the possibility of its occurrence.”
That type of worldly HOPE is closely related to the “hope against hope” kind of hope which is defined as “hoping with little reason or justification“. It leaves us living our lives with little peace and less joy… and no real influence. After all, we’ve seen and experienced a plethora of negative outcomes; why should we expect our lives be any different now?
And therein lies the key— the word “expect”. This word more closely matches a superior kind of HOPE we have access to through Christ.
HOPE in the biblical sense is entirely different. The word hope [elpis] is used 53 times in the New Testament and simply means an “expectation of what is sure (certain)”. This Greek word for hope is defined as “trust, confidence, and expectation” and without exception in the New Testament; it’s associated with “expectation of good” or a “joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation”.
The apostle Paul uses the word elpis in conjunction with our unmerited salvation through the work of Christ. He emphasizes the point that we can EXPECT eternal life by concluding that what he’s saying can absolutely be trusted.
“But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying.” Titus 3: 4-8
The same apostle used the term elpis in connection with a military armament. Paul instructs us in 1 Thessalonians 5:8 to “put on the hope of salvation as a helmet”. Clearly, a helmet protects us from a deadly blow, just as our hope of salvation protects us from death itself. This biblical hope is not based on a wish, but on a certainty.
In 2 Corinthians 1:7, Paul speaks confidently concerning the outcome of those he is writing to by stating, “And our hope for you is firm”. Notice he is using this same Greek word elpis to communicate his expectation concerning people. He isn’t ”WISHING for a particular event that he considers possible” — rather, he is EXPECTING a particular event (for a reason which he isn’t sharing here).
Paul clarifies further his use of the term elpis in Romans 8:25 by telling us the steps we need to take when “hoping” in the Biblical sense. “But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”
Just one step: to wait patiently!
That means— like a pregnant woman— we are “expecting” and we simply have to wait, for the birthing time will surely come and impatience won’t bring it sooner!
This is what it’s like to hear and understand dreams sent from the Holy Spirit. In the midst of our challenges, God steps in and encourages us, comforts us, and even empowers us to utilize effective strategies.
As messages sent from heaven are understood and confirmed by other messages, we can walk confidently through the battlefields of life.
I’m currently in one of those right now. As it is, it’s not fun and requires trust in God, but it would be so much more difficult for me if God hadn’t provided enlightenment.
I said earlier that my new friend articulated that:
- We have absolutely no way of knowing what God has to say about a situation
- We don’t know His will or plans concerning it
- We are unable to impact it
Here’s my abbreviated response:
We can know what God has to say and what his will or plans are concerning any given situation.
- 1. His thoughts concerning our lives are all over the scriptures. Stay in the Word; He can speak to you PERSONALLY through it.
- 2. Develop your understanding of the dreams the Holy Spirit sends. You might be surprised at what He tells you!
We can impact situations!
Just as in ancient days when God showed his people how to deal with situations, He can do that in your life today! In my own personal situation that I just spoke of, God confirmed in a dream that my approach was correct. He said that there was a job opening, and I got the job! What job? Employing a particular spiritual warfare strategy behind the scenes. God said through that parabolic dream, “Yes. Do that. You will see the results.”
Bottom line? Why hope against hope? Why settle for a Type 1 dictionary hope? This slice of the abundant life is yours for the taking. Expect the blessing! Enjoy an elpis hope.
I don’t know how you’ve been pronouncing the word, but interestingly, it sounds like a Spanish word followed by and English word:“El Peace” or ‘El Piece” El as an article is translated “the” and as a pronoun is translated “the one”.
Get “the piece” — your slice of the abundant life!
Get “The Peace” — Peace through THE ONE!
Remember: Each of us receives our own dreams, and each of us knows our own state of affairs. Dreamers are intended to make the best interpreters of their own dreams as they grow in understanding of the parabolic language of dreams.
I’m not you, but that’s my view! Every Blessing!
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