Jane Marczewski, in a tweet, once said, “Some people will call it ‘blind denial’ but I prefer to call it rebellious hope.”
This, said by a woman who had a 2% chance of overcoming cancer. Who had a million dreams to live for. Who inspired just as many people with her golden buzzer performance of her original song, “It’s Okay.”
Sadly, Jane, also known as Nightbirde, passed away this February. Her appearance on the public stage flared like a sudden match strike when she captured everyone’s attention–and hope–on America’s Got Talent. Just as much as her song resonated with everyone’s life, her optimism and determination to be happy despite overwhelming challenges made everyone, even Simon Cowell, pause in admiration.
Through her song and her rebellious hope, Nightbirde touched my life too. There was a stretch of time in 2021 when I was playing, “It’s Okay” on repeat, trying to remember that dark tunnels are not the end of the road, and hope can be an act of rebellion against the powers that try to cripple you.
I’m pretty sure I cried when I heard that Nightbirde had died. Part of me was relieved her suffering was past, and because of her faith in Christ, I knew every last tear had been wiped away in paradise. But I was hoping for a story of the 2% prevailing. Of hearing her and her testimony go farther than her original dreams ever intended.
Part of me needed the hope of her success story.
I haven’t been through what she had. But I’m coming out of a season when nothing seemed okay. If I were to be honest, I forgot hope. I daren’t enumerate, but I mention my struggle only to say, without hope, we have nothing.
Why? Because hope leads to belief, belief leads to courage, courage leads to strength, strength leads to action. Fortunately, all God needs is a mustard seed of faith (that is, belief in Him and His power, goodness, and wisdom) to do the work. But I think there are times even faith needs a starting place, and hope is often that place.
The week Nightbirde passed into glory, I was praying one night and the oddest sensation rose up in my chest. I thought it was sorrow again. Nothing in particular was weighing on my mind, and yet my chest felt full of something bigger than I could handle. “What is this?” I wondered.
And then I realized. It was hope. And after facing hope’s counterpart for so long, it felt good. You might say it even felt rebellious.
Sometimes even the hope of hope is enough.
So if that’s what you need, I’m not going to leave you with some platitude, like “there’s hope,” or “hang onto hope.” But I will say never underestimate the power of putting one step in front of the other and letting God do the rest.
Reach out to Him before you reach out for anything else. You may not hear Him then or even now, but I promise, He hears you, He cares, and He’s the God of hope.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
God’s plan never looks the way we think it should, but we have the choice to hope anyway. Be rebellious in hope. It’s okay.