With so much turmoil throughout the world, news of celebrity suicides due to depression, and the heartache of a normal life lived through difficulty, it is easy to lose sight of hope. It’s easy to lose sight of why it’s important, of why we can’t let it go.
A life lived without hope is not a life lived in worth. It’s unaware of, or has forgotten, the simple beauty of its own existence. Forget about hope for material objects or possessions. Wealth passes and is unimportant. What’s important is what is eternal and miraculous.
Inside of ourselves is the beauty of God’s masterpiece, the human soul, the only known template for life He modeled after Himself. The soul has a precious flickering wisp within it that mimics the blinding glorious flame of God. We are so used to living our lives that we are immune to the miracle and beauty of our own creation. Difficulty and angst and hurt and fear and depression rob us of the joy we have as innately miraculous beings.
The first stanza to Emily Dickinson’s “Hope Is the Thing with Feathers” creates beautiful imagery:
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all
When we clear away the rubbish of life and get down to the real value of our existence, we see that hope is what fills the gaps in the soul. It joins joy and love and happiness together. It cleanses and purifies us. It gives us motivation to continue along life’s rocky roads.
Hope is the intangible emotional passion for our purpose.
Emily Dickinson’s imagery is perfect. Hope is so pure an emotion that it has no words. It’s so expressive that articulations are trite and ordinary. Without hope our heart grows dark – not evil, no, a different kind of dark – an empty darkness, void of all things good and worthwhile. Hope is the song that comforts us as we live our lives.
We need hope.
As important as we know faith is, hope is that much more important. Faith is mental, but hope is emotional. Faith feeds our hope, but hope feeds our soul. Faith is something we can articulate; it’s something we can express with words. We can discuss faith. We can explain our faith. We may even be able to convince people of our faith. But in the quagmires of life, in the grueling distance from one way point to the next, in the valley that is so dark there is a shadow of death, it is the hope – maybe even just the memory of hope – that drives us forward.
Where our minds succumb to the emotion of the moment, the fundamental emotion of a hope forged by faith can keep us pointed forward.
Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. (Hebrews 11:1 NLT)
Your hope, like mine, may be in any area of life. I have hope of my boys being great men, and my daughter a great woman, of God. I have hope of a lifetime of loving and caring for my wife – the hope of the character of a man who does that. I have hope of forging the path He set out for me, rather than settling for an apathetic alternative. I have the hope of the fruition of unfinished promises God has made. I have confidence about these hopes because I trust in the One who has proved Himself. He has already helped me be a better father, better husband, set my eyes on the right path, and He has already fulfilled promises. Impossible promises.
But all hope rests on and is subordinate to the One True Hope: our resurrection and eternal life with our Comforter, our King, our Savior, our Maker, our Lord, our God. All hope points to this one true hope. All hope is just an example of the singular great hope we have. We can’t have hope in any of these things without having this great hope.
Hold on to your hope. It’s your song. Your unique melody. It’s the promise that He is faithful and loving above all. It’s the promise that your earthly desires will be realized as long as they are His will. It’s the promise that the flicker of your soul will burn without end, that the eternal hope of a life with Him will most certainly be realized.