How do you sustain hope when things look hopeless?

Hope is the thing with feathers

That perches in the soul,

And sings the tune without the words,

And never stops at all...
(Emily Dickinson)

My spirit needs hope as badly as my body needs water.  Blessedly, I can go to the sink whenever I want.  Hope is not so easily found, though perhaps as readily available.

I wake, I work, I walk through my days, not alone but with God, and I know this to be true.  But some days, some seasons, I wake, I work, I walk through my days without much hope.  And without hope, I am not living.  Not living.  I'm not the me God dreamed of when he first and last and in between thinks of me.  I'm not the me I am meant to be or want to be.  And I don't like it.

My hormones play a part.  (53 years in and I'm finally giving my body the respect and attention it deserves.)

My circumstances play a part.

Relationships play a part.

Spiritual warfare plays a part.

Knowing all this, I turn my thoughts and my heart again today to God to remember and to remind myself what is true and to cry for "Help!" To pray.  To choose. To live in spite of my negative feelings.  To hope for hope.

I need hope, but I can't seem to drum it up at will.  If it is a thing with wings, as Emily Dickinson wrote, then it can too easily fly away.  It is an irresponsible, flighty, inconsistent thing.

But I am coming to believe that hope is not.  I think she may have gotten this bit wrong.

Hope is an underground current.  It is a river that flows from the throne of God into my soul.  It is an ancient cistern whose source never runs dry.  It is an aqueduct layered in the depths of my spirit.

Hope is the breath of God.  It is the wind released in his unworried laughter.  It is settled within his knowing the end from the beginning.  It simply is.  As he is. True.  Irrefutable.  Ridiculously good.  Trustworthy.

Hope is the defiant river of joy that flows from the ascended Christ himself.

And so, whether I feel it or not, I possess it.  Whether I feel I can access it in a moment or not, it is ever available.

If hope is like a bird, then it must be like many birds.  The rhapsody of lighthearted beauty in the hummingbirds free falling in the sky and the majesty of the mighty golden eagle soaring in the air.  Beautiful.  Strong.  Whimsical.  Surprising.  True.  But I must look up to see them.

I am looking up.  And hope is rising.

...but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

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