Monday, January 4, 2016

When Hope Comes Disguised in a Dream

I overheard actor Robert Redford tell someone that I might “be the one” in my dream last night. 

(For those of you who weren’t even a gleam in your parents’ eyes back then—watch Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and see if those two bank robbers don’t have you swooning and sighing even as they meet their well-deserved demise.) 

Now these days I don’t at all care for Redford or his politics, but in my dream I was delighted to be “special,” “recognized,” “chosen” to be his girl.

Later I moved into another dream where another man, I think he was an editor who resembled—go figure!—Donald Sutherland, liked my work. Recognized its worth.

These two dreams, back to back with the same theme, gave me a good feeling. An important person saw something in me that others missed. I woke with an inner rearrangement of expectation and energy.

That’s what HOPE is—a “pleasurable and confident expectation.” It’s what Emily Dickinson calls “a thing with feathers that perches in the soul/ And sings the tune without the words/ And never stops at all.”  She’s not writing about the finger-crossing wish that things would change, but about an expectation so sure that its song carries even in the “Gale.”

That kind of hope is certainly not dependent upon the fickle, fragile things of man. The hope that conveys a pleasurable confidence and expectation can only be anchored in Someone who has the power and possibility to fulfill a promise. It is so confident in this person that it holds even when trouble seems to go on Forever.

It’s the hope I fear our world is quickly losing. A law enforcement officer told me that the most common cause of calls he responded to on New Year’s Eve was suicide threats. Really? Not weaving the wrong way on a one-way street? Not serenading your neighbors with a sloppy song at 3 a.m.? But stabbing yourself? Shooting yourself? Not seeing any reason to be?

Hopelessness and despair are running rampant. It makes me mad, this deception of death that’s cloaking our culture. I know there is a God of Hope whose words have power. But I also don’t want to be like a noisy gong in the early morning by scattering words of scripture around when someone isn’t ready to receive them. (I wonder if they’re not received sometimes because they are not so evidenced in my own life—that was a sudden personal musing, do with it as you may.)

So this for today: May those of us who know the Lord, grow in the Delight of Him. He’s not just a memorized verse that we’ve pledged to think about or distant director who never smiles. I don’t know if Olympic runner Eric Liddell actually said the words the movie script credits him, but they’re good words to think about. He said, “When I run I feel his pleasure.”

To feel God’s pleasure.

May those of us who know the God of Hope press in to know his pleasure so much that it radiates from us and shines into the lives of those we encounter who have lost it, or never found it to begin with. May we pick up the battle of prayer because regardless of the lies and deception that are settling so softly over us—God’s word is true and powerful and we are the bearers of his hope.

And whether the Holy Spirit inspires you in the form of someone like Chris Hemsworth or Donald Sutherland, (speaking to women here!) I pray your dreams be sweet and you awake in hope!

In the joy of the Lord,



  1. This is beautiful. Powerful. Anchored in gently spoken truth and full of . . . hope. Love the quote from Eric Liddell; it's one of my longtime favorites. Thank you for the reminder that's so well said. May you continue to have dreams that morph into musing that bless all of us!

  2. Such truth here, Marcia. My life verse is Roman 15:13,
    "May the God of all hope fill you with joy and peace AS YOU TRUST HIM..."

    I need the reminder that trust comes first, and then joy and peace follow.
    I don't, however, need to dream about Donald Southerland. He gives me the creeps.


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