The dove is often viewed as a symbol of hope. (See how anchors are also a symbol of hope in the Bible.)
Broken Bird Feeder
I see bird seed spilled on the ground in our front yard. The squirrel is having a feast.
I had recently added a plastic dome over the bird feeder to keep the squirrels from wiping out the food in just a few hours.
But once again, my plot was foiled.
The squirrel outsmarted me. He chewed the rope holding the bird feeder, causing it to fall to the ground, and breaking it wide open.
Doves as Hope
I want to watch the birds, not the squirrels, at the bird feeder hanging on our cherry tree.
While I’m not a serious bird-watcher (I can only identify a handful for certain), I do know a few.
One of the birds I know is the dove. We have many doves that eat from the bird feeder (when the squirrels haven’t emptied it out.)
I like watching the doves. Doves remind me to hope.
Associating doves with hope originates from the biblical story of Noah’s ark in Genesis 7-8. It is written that after Noah and his family ride out the 40-day rainstorm, waters rise for another 5 months. In the next 5 months, waters begin receding, leaving the ark to rest on the mountains of Ararat.
The story continues that Noah opens the window. He sends out a raven. But it only flies back and forth because there is nowhere for it to land.
Noah next sends out a dove, but it can’t land either.
Another week passes. Noah sends out the dove again. This time it returns back to Noah with a gift, a freshly picked olive leaf.
Thrive in Hope
Noah’s hope is coming true. He knows there is life again outside the ark. God has not abandoned him.
But the story continues. Noah waits one more week and releases the dove a third time. This time the bird doesn’t return at all, a sign that it is able to live on its own.
The dove found its own bird food.
The dove was a tangible reminder to Noah to hope. When he needed evidence that new life was possible, the dove brought it.
We All Need Hope
In the New Testament, a dove lights on Jesus after he is baptized in the Jordan River by John. Here the dove represents the Spirit of God and is accompanied by God’s voice from heaven, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
The apostle Paul writes that God is the God of hope. It is through the power of the Spirit that we can overflow with hope (Romans 15:13).
I need more hope. Hope for fresh starts. Hope for renewal. Hope for the dawning of a new day.
And hope for more doves to feed in my front yard.
I look online this morning for a new bird feeder. I add one to my cart. I click “buy.”
I’ll start again.
Hope really does spring eternal.
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READ MORE ABOUT HOPE:
- 4 Ways to Express Your Hope
When you feel too cynical or things seem hopeless, that’s a great time to practice your hope. Here are 4 ways.
- Get Your Hopes Up for Good Gifts Ahead
We can’t imagine the gifts God has planned for us or what time they will arrive. But we can know they will be good. Get your hopes up.
- When Hope Feels Dangerous
Our hope for the future isn’t defined by our past. Here’s why we should continue to practice hope, even when it feels dangerous.
- I’ll Be Praying for You. But…?
- Can White People Be Good Friends to Black People?