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“Hope” is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul.”
My taste in poetry isn’t particularly sophisticated, but from the moment I read it, the poem about hope written by Emily Dickinson captured my heart. Many people use that word in a wishful way. The Bible presents a different definition for those of us who trust in Jesus Christ. It’s a confident assurance, a conviction that everything God has promised in His word will be. Not may be. Will be.
That confidence, that hope we have, is often tested. Many times in small ways, and sometimes in big ways. Why? There are reasons God gives us: to produce a more Christ-like character, to produce a more enduring faith, to grow a greater trust, a greater hope.
In the decades I’ve followed Jesus, nothing has tested my hope like the death of my daughter, Lindsey. Only twenty-five, she was killed in a terrible motorcycle accident. The death of a child is every parent’s nightmare. It’s a grief that shocks you to the core of your soul, and threatens to extinguish every bit of light that lives there. It has the power to do that. Believe me, I know that it does, except that there, perching in the soul of everyone who knows Jesus Christ, is the reality of His promise-hope.
We can stop our ears up and blot out the song hope sings, and nurse our sorrow until we despair of any hope. Or we can weep, listening to hope’s song, and allow the God of all hope to comfort us with the truth. That is our choice, our daily choice.
Hope is faith that looks to the future in confidence, knowing that God is true and able to bring all that He’s promised to fruition. There is eternal life in Jesus Christ. We’ll live in resurrected bodies and walk the streets of the New Jerusalem with all those who’ve believed for eternity, with no more sin, no more sorrow, no more pain, no more death.
Our hope is certain!
Every single promise in the good Book will be fulfilled -just as it’s promised.
We don’t have to wonder if it’ll turn out well in the end. It’s a sure thing! Sure, because God is faithful even when we’re not. Sure, because every promise of God is true. Sure, because He’s abundantly able to do all that He’s promised. Sure, because He never fails.
All of that is true, but if you don’t apply it to yourself, or your situation, it does you no good. Salvation is a free gift for the believer, but growing in faith and hope is a choice we make on a daily basis. The quality of our faith and hope depends on the quality of what we “feed” on daily. That quality will be tested when we face the difficulties and the trials of life. We can feed on truth from the Bible, on our own reasonings, or the world’s.
We need to preach hope to ourselves.
This might sound harsh, but we can choose to wallow in the painfulness of our situation, or we can choose to take hold of the promises we have in Jesus Christ. Ask Him for the ability to trust, and the strength you need to grasp on to hope.
You see this preaching to self in the Psalms:
“Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him for the help of His presence. O my God, my soul is in despair within me; therefore I remember You…”
Hope is remembering God.
When we remember God, what He’s done for us through Jesus, and promised us in Jesus, we allow hope to grow. We become confident, even in our weakness, that He will never leave us or forsake us, that He will turn everything together for our good, that one day there will be no more sorrow, no more pain, no more mourning, but only joy, and peace, and love and hope.
Hope does not disappoint, because we who love Jesus are the people of hope. We serve the God of all hope and whatever situation we find ourselves in we can have confident assurance that God is working through our circumstances. When we focus on Jesus, magnifying Him instead of our situation, we find hope -and the hard stuff becomes the very thing He uses to make the right stuff grow in our souls.
Original artwork by Lindsey Kathryn Morris. Photograph by quotecards.co