Hope, the confident expectation of good is an indispensable grace each of us must possess to live victoriously. Many use the word more as an expression of wishful thinking… ‘I sure hope so’. To them it is but a longing for something good. True Biblical hope is confidant that good is coming and expecting it to come at any moment. It is like a pregnant woman sure of her pregnancy. She is expecting and confident of it! Hope is a repository of spiritual and emotional strength. Yet hope is more than all of these things. An Enlightening Encounter
I awakened one morning in the midst of a spiritual encounter looking directly into the cheerful smiling face of a former schoolmate named Chip Hope. This man named Hope smiled at me broadly and said: ‘Hello, I’m going to be your new best friend’. He wore a Philadelphia Eagles hat and sweater. Beside my bed I noticed a freshly paved road. It hadn’t been there the night before when I went to bed! I heard a voice speak in a tone of unbelieving amazement –“Is that the work of one man?” Then the Lord informed me that this man named Hope was a rogue, totally uncontrollable.
What did this strange encounter mean? I believe it unveils the reality of true Biblical hope. There is profound spiritual revelation in his name Chip Hope. Chip is derived from the proper name Charles meaning ‘freeman’, or ‘warrior’. The Lord said he was a ‘rogue’, a word meaning one who operates outside normal or desirable controls, one who is mischievous, a playful person. The ‘hope’ we have is a rogue. It is uncontrollable. It exists for us outside of the normal pressures, principles, and patterns of our time/space world. That is what it means to be truly free!
The Philadelphia Eagle Connection
The Philadelphia Eagles logo on the hat and the sweatshirt speaks of a number of things: the power of a loving community, the importance of learning how to live in the spirit, and the redemptive heart of God. The fact that it was stamped on the hat and sweatshirt speaks of how hope covers and protects our hearts and minds. The word Philadelphia, the name of the church mentioned in Revelation 3, means ‘brotherly love’ and refers to the love Christians have for each other as fellow family members. The church at Philadelphia was the only one of the seven churches that Jesus did not rebuke. It speaks of a community of love, the atmosphere where hope is the most readily obtained and enjoyed.
Now, -the redemptive aspects of the Philadelphia Eagle connection; at the time of my encounter Andy Reid coached the Eagles NFL team. He gave Michael Vick a chance to redeem himself after his humiliating imprisonment for illegal involvement in fighting dogs for sport. Reid’s heart to help Vick speaks of redemption, the very nature of the heart of God.
The Eagle and the Newly Paved Road
The newly paved road beside my bed reminded me of a past revelatory dream. In it I was operating a big asphalt machine, re-paving Remount Road in my hometown. It spoke to me of providing a ‘re-mount’ road. Allow me to explain. Isaiah the prophet said:
“But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31, italics mine).
In these short words Isaiah revealed that by waiting on the Lord we can develop the ability to ‘mount up’ with Him in the heavenly realm to the degree that we can run and not get tired and walk in the spirit and never faint. Remount Road speaks of ‘mounting up’ again and again to experience hope in an ever increasing way.
The Work of One Man
By the tone of the voice I heard saying, “Is this the work of one man?”, I discerned the voice of an adversary who could not believe in the entirety and completeness of the work of the One Man, Christ Jesus. In His final minutes on the cross Jesus cried, ‘It is finished’. His work on our behalf is completely complete and perfectly perfect. Only the Holy Spirit can reveal to each one the enormity, the breadth, the depth, the height and the width of what He has done for us in His redemptive work. It shall take all eternity to appreciate and know it in fullness.
This Hope thrives in a community of brotherly love. Like the Philadelphia Eagles hat and sweater, this Hope covers our hearts and minds, cannot be controlled, is unceasingly joyful and free, and can be experienced by waiting on the Lord and mounting and remounting up into the heavenly realm to access all the provision of God. It is redemptive, intimate, and provides us with a heavenly rest. Paul of Tarsus opened his letter to Timothy this way:
“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope…”
Hope is the confident expectation of good. It is so essential that we have it. The man with the most hope prevails. Our Hope is alive, a person of whom death has no power named Jesus Christ the Lord. He truly is our new best friend!