Elected Officials

The Song Called Hope

Sarah Botti October 25, 2021
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In an 1861 poem, Emily Dickinson claims hope to be “…the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops at all.” At times in my life, hope has felt pretty elusive. I am not the only one who has felt that kind of despair – even prophets of the old testament have expressed a profound loss of hope. I want to look at perhaps the most moving moments of despair in the Bible, define what hope is not, what hope is, and what our response to hopelessness should be.


Lamentations is perhaps the most sorrowful book of the Bible. We find the prophet Jeremiah walking the streets of the holy city, Jerusalem, after its invasion by the Babylonians in 587 BC. There are many powerful passages in Lamentations, but I’ve been especially drawn to the third chapter. The utter hopelessness in Jeremiah’s tone is striking. The first twenty verses find phrases like “He has worn away by flesh and skin (v.4)… He has turned me aside and tore me apart (v.11)… He sated me with bitterness, filled me with wormwood (v.15)… My life is deprived of peace, I have forgotten what happiness is (v.17).” All these statements summit in verse 18: “My enduring hope… has perished before the Lord.” Wow. It is clear that Jeremiah is in despair – his song of hope seems to have stopped. Where does one go from this place of utter hopelessness? Lamentations 3:21: “But this I will call to mind, and therefore, I will hope.” In subsequent verses, He recalls past acts of God’s faithfulness to His people. He goes so far as to call for communal worship in verse 41. What an incredible demonstration of what to do in our

moments of despair.


After reading this, we can clearly define what hope is not, what hope is, and what our response to hopelessness should be.


1. Hope is not some kind of passive optimism for a better tomorrow. It is not some kind of outward expression of confidence for a turn of events, although one can express hope as such.

2. Hope is an active decision. This is made clear by Jeremiah’s decision to hope, to trust, to remember the unwavering faithfulness of God.

3. None of these things come passively to the despairer. Jeremiah didn’t wait until he felt like things were better to trust. In the thick of his despair, he turned to God and said I trust you because I know you. His phrase “therefore I will hope (v.21) indicates a determined mind to turn to God and trust Him. Notice where this attitude led Jeremiah – a place of communal praise. 


How can one recognize how trustworthy and how unwaveringly faithful God is and NOT praise Him for it? Recognition of God’s qualities calls for enthusiastic praise because He is so good. Once again, this comes from a decision to trust Him.


How applicable to our lives today! When we feel despair, we are called to remember God’s faithfulness, trust in His goodness, and praise Him for how present we know Him to be – especially when we don’t feel like it.


In summary, hope is active trust. Hope is a determined choice. Hope leads to enthusiastic worship. Hope is not dependent on optimal circumstances. Hope is the persistent song in the very soul of those who are Heaven-seeking, those who remember God’s goodness, those who lay down the culture of dejection and passivity, those who pick up the Kingdom of eternal, unending, unwavering joy.


Editor’s Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official views of TeenPact Leadership Schools. To learn more about our Vision & Values, please visit teenpact.com/vision-values/.

About the Author

Sarah Botti

Sarah Botti is a TeenPact Senator and currently serves with the 2021-2022 TeenPact Elected Officials.