Hope: The Thing With Feathers (Part 1/2)

Written by Micah Joy Burke | ChattHOP Staff

“Hope” is the thing with feathers – 

That perches in the soul – 
And sings the tune without the words – 
And never stops – at all –

And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard – 
And sore must be the storm – 
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –

I’ve heard it in the chillest land – 
And on the strangest Sea – 
Yet – never – in Extremity, 
It asked a crumb – of me.
-Emily Dickinson

Hope. The word… we use it all the time, and for so many things. “I hope it doesn’t rain today.” “I hope we don’t have to wait long; I’m hungry.” “I hope we win!” “I hope this recipe turns out.” “I hope I meet the deadline.” “I hope to see you again.” “I hope you never leave.” “I hope they recover from cancer.” “I hope we can pull through this.”

What even is hope? Well, linguistically speaking, it can be a noun or a verb. An expression of emotion driven by anticipation, desire, wishes. Spiritually speaking… ready for it? It’s not just an emotion. It’s a promise.

“The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him…” (Lamentations 3:19)

Have you ever thought about Hope being a promise? Not just an emotion? The Lord promises His goodness to those whose hope is in HIM.

I’ve been on a journey with Hope over the last 10 years, and so often I’ve hoped for certain things to pass, and hoped that God would answer my prayers, only to be disappointed as what I’d hoped for didn’t happen, nor did God grant me my requests. I’ve experienced the sickness that Proverbs 13:12 describes: “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.” And because of this level of disappointment unfulfilled dreams and prayers that so many of us have experienced in this life, we have found that hope can be so hard to hold on to. Suffering and discouragement steal it away within seconds. Bitterness towards God and others sets it. And the word HOPE can seem like one big disappointment.

But wait… maybe we’ve missed out on where our hope is meant to be placed. The scripture I quoted before from Lamentations 3 – what did it say?

“The Lord is good to those whose Hope is in Him.”

How many times have I been frustrated and angry with God because I hoped for something so deeply that He would answer, and when He didn’t, oh… the disappointment. The temptation to shake my fist at Him and declare in the midst of my pain that He just must not care. But did I put my hope in the thing I hoped for, or in Him?

The Word promises that He is good, that His ways are higher, that He is more beautiful and more fulfilling than we could imagine in our wildest dreams. He has declared that goodness and mercy would follow us all the days of our lives, and that even in the midst of our enemies and the evil we encounter in this life that He has prepared a feast for us in that place. His banner over us is love. He is a good father who gives good gifts to His children.*

So, as my heart dares to hope again and again as I journey through this life, I am challenged to Hope in Him. I can pray many prayers for healing, restoration, miracles, redemption. I can have confidence to pray big prayers because God has asked us to be a praying and believing people.**

But as I anticipate His answers to my prayers, my hope is secure as I believe and trust and lean hard into His good and loving character. He does not disappoint; therefore my hope will not be disappointed! It’s all about hoping in HIM.

And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. (Romans 5:5)

*Isaiah 55:8-9, Psalm 145:16, Psalm 23:6, Psalm 23:5, Song of Solomon 2:4, Matthew 7:11
**Matthew 7:7