A Season of Hope

The newest addition to my church newsletter contributions. It’s funny, I was thinking last night about being down to the wire to meet the 20th of the month deadline, and I realized I’ve changed quite a bit over the years in my approach to deadlines. When I was in school, I was the overly organized and annoying student who would start planning a paper at least a month before it was due. I write for my church newsletter every other month (meaning I won’t have to put another submission together until late May for the June newsletter), so you would think I would have finished it before 10:00 the night it’s due, but alas (or not), I’m not that annoying student anymore. This one more or less wrote itself and incorporates one of my favorite poems. As per usual, if religion isn’t your thing, feel free to skip this post. It won’t hurt my feelings any.

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. – Romans 12:12

            Emily Dickinson was born in 1830 and by the time of her death in 1886, she had endured the nearly constant loss of friends and family, crippling agoraphobia and a prolonged and painful illness. Despite what she suffered, she still had enough faith to write the following poem:

Hope is the thing with feather

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 strangest land

And on the chilliest sea,

Yet never in extremity

It asked a crumb of me.

            Just as the little bird of the poem refuses to abandon the narrator, Jesus is always with us, even in the middle of life’s great trials. During Lent, we are reminded of the darkness that can cloud our lives, but the promise of Easter gives us hope to help us rise above life’s obstacles. Regardless of the hardships we may face, God will not abandon us, even though we may sometimes feel separated from His saving grace. Hope is the gift of the cross, the promise that Jesus shared our humanity in order to deliver us from sin and death to everlasting life. It is easy during Lent to focus on the negative, but we must not lose hope, for like the bird Emily Dickinson wrote about, it lifts our soul and shelters us beneath God’s mighty wings.

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