Hope and feathers

In Hope is the thing with feathers  (254), Emily Dickinson wrote:

Hope is the thing with feathers That perches in the soul, And sings the tune without the words, And never stops at all,

In this first stanza of her poem, she captures my personal experience with hope. It is somehow both easily startled, like a bird, and ever-present, like the tune that never ceases.

My “flighty” hope stands in opposition to what I read in God’s word. Jeremiah 29:11 is an often-quoted scripture that proclaims God’s promise to end the Israelites’ exile:

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

This hope doesn’t seem much like a bird. It’s a declaration of truth. It is God’s word and He is faithful.

What’s the disconnect? Why do I consistently get this wrong?

Let’s read 1 Corinthians 13:13 from the Message translation:

But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.

Maybe that is my error… Hope is not so much a feeling as it is a choice. We are to have hope because we have God. Perhaps the linchpin is faith.

If you are hurting, if hope is the thing with feathers right now, I wouldn’t dream of burdening you. I’ve been there. Instead, I offer you an assurance. God has plans for you, plans to prosper you, plans for your future. He is your hope and He never fails.

Hope and peace to you my friend. Always.

About Tony Schmitz

Tony Schmitz received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Temple University in 1993, his MS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida in 1996, and his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida in 1999. He is a mechanical engineering professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
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