Hope And Faith
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 (NRSV)
In a world seeking signs, Evidence of the physical, Hope forever shines, In the shape of a miracle. We, persons of the ordinary human variety, so easily run with the world’s way. It’s our biological and learned tendency. And as we look for evidence of the physical, we tend to leave hope on the shelf. All the potential of hope is useless to us because we preferred to pass up on faith.
Yet, we can as easily invest in Divine fortune.
THE INTERDEPENDENCE OF FAITH AND HOPE
Faith and hope are products of the same process; they are sibling sisters with the same intent; they are brothers in arms.
They both work in the reverse to logic – the human sense. They are ideas from God. They are gifts of the Divine, engorged with possibility and swelling with all things truly spiritual. As they intertwine in the process they add up to the power of love.
The interdependence of faith and hope is present in much the same way as the chicken-and-the-egg situation does.
What comes first? Faith presumably. But an expression of faith is powered by hope, for what sensible action of faith is devoid of hope? But hope, as a state of being, cannot be unless it is expressed: faith is a verb. It must be enacted.
Faith needs hope just as hope needs faith – and the lived life needs them both.
MAKING THE MOST OF FAITH AND HOPE
Neither of these is particularly easy. To express our faith, which relies on our hope, both of which are sponsored by God, requires a risk seemingly against ourselves. We see not what we hope for. We are actually acting against the evidence. It seems futile to the external observer, and maybe even to us.
But faith has the patience of hope about it. It wrangles with the sensation of hopelessness and entertains the possibility, many times, that the miracle hoped-for will not come. But it still proceeds, despite the mind’s lies and the weakness of our doubting hearts. It knows that faith in hope is the only true reward.
Making the most of faith and hope is simply trusting in a good future. There is no simple way to do that except patiently endure.
Faith is the agency toward hope, which is about believing in miracles. And hope isn’t disappointed. Because it doesn’t give up, hope prefers to invest in faith. And hope and faith meander on until the miracle comes, at last, into view.
How Can Hope and Faith Be Yours? Life Can Be Tough, But It Does Not Have to Be
It is easy to lose sight of your hope and faith when you are bogged down with so many responsibilities. In fact, it seems like it is easier than ever to get overwhelmed by the world around you in today’s society. However, you do not have to lose sight of your hope.
As you wake each morning the day ahead of you is full of possibilities. It is also full of expectations and to-do lists. There are ways to keep your faith intact, which will help keep you happy throughout your day.
One of the biggest things that can wreak havoc on your hope is unfulfilled expectations. It is normal, and many people deal with this. Before having an experience, you have a preconceived notion of what is going to happen as well as how it is going to happen.
Unfortunately, more often than not things do not go as you have planned. This can be devastating if you pin all of your hopes on things going according to plan. How do you handle this to keep your hope alive?
It is normal to envision how things in your life are going to be. The best thing that you can do is to take some of the pressure off of yourself. You need to hold onto the faith that you have to realize that everything happens for a reason.
Hope and faith can be yours but you need to remember that nothing is ever perfect. In fact, it is unreasonable to expect everything to always go smoothly. If you hope for the best and prepare for the worst, you will handle the curve balls that life throws you.
You can find hope and find faith in your support system. You must have a strong support system around you. For some this support system is your family, while for others it may be a circle of close friends. The key is to identify what your support system is, and then you need to use it.
Do not be afraid to ask for help because that is what a support system is there for. Sometimes simply getting a different perspective from someone can restore your hope in a situation. In fact, having someone dear to you share their faith cannot only be supportive, but it can also be inspiring.
Life can be tough, but it does not have to be. While you may be forced to deal with some tough situations as the year goes by, you can find a source of hope by holding on to your faith.
If you keep your expectations reasonable while also realizing that you may have to adjust those expectations you can keep from setting yourself up for disappointment. By surrounding yourself with a solid support network your hope and faith will stay strong, and with that, you will be able to handle almost any situation with a smile.
Look Up to Hold Fast to Hope and Faith
When you walk down the street, where do you look? If you are like most people, you are looking at your feet, to make sure you don’t trip, to see where you are going in the next step. In everyday life, we all tend to notice only those things that are at eye level or below. Our natural inclination is to look down. It takes intention and practice to look up and notice what is above our accustomed field of vision. Teach yourself to look up, because there are lights in the heavens, stars to be seen!
To look up is an act of viewing things from a higher perspective, to see not only the details of the moment but a vision of the future. To look up is a metaphor for the ability to see opportunity in hard times, to hold fast to hope and faith, to realize that change is the only constant. Looking up can provide you a broader perspective, and the assurance of brighter things to come.
In December, many religions celebrate the looking-up themes of hope and the promise of the future. Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus; Jews light Menorah candles to remember the hope and the miracle of the temple lamp oil lasting eight nights; in early December, Buddhists celebrate Rohatsu, the anniversary of the enlightenment of the Buddha and the possibility of enlightenment for all beings; earth-centered religions anticipate the coming of longer days by lighting Yule logs in the fireplace. In the Christmas story, the shepherds and the wise men literally look up to see a bright star, a light in the sky, that guided them to the birthplace of Jesus and the promise of Christ’s message of love.
It is so easy to get caught up in darkness, whether it is the physical darkness of the winter days or the mental darkness of despair or just dull days. We light candles and fires to remind us to figuratively look up, to see that there is hope even in darkness, that the light will return just as surely as a new day will dawn. I derive great joy from the sweet turning and returning of this holy season. My heart stirs with hope and faith when I observe stars in the winter night sky, Christmas lights in neighbor’s yards, and candles in the Menorah and Christmas wreaths. I know that the days will start to lengthen and that warmth will return to our world. I give thanks that hope, love, joy, and peace are celebrated at this time.
Remember, light always conquers darkness. Love and hope conquer fear. May peace reside in your heart. Look up and see the stars!
Can You Have Hope Without Faith?
So many people today are depressed and discouraged because they seem to only focus on their present circumstances. They are constantly dwelling on their problems, what they don’t have, and what’s wrong with them. They don’t seem to realize that they are allowing the enemy to steal their hope. This (negative) frame of mind is what keeps people from moving forward in their life.
If you seem mostly focused on what’s wrong, or what’s not working, then it’s time to dig up your tent stakes! It’s time to pack up your belongings and move out of the land of discouragement. Move far away from the “Not going to happen” sub-division. It’s also time to leave the “Self-pity Estates.” Get out of living in those areas and move into the land of hope, faith, and expectation!
Maybe you don’t quite know how to get there? Just open your heart to the Lord and ask Him in prayer to direct your thoughts and expectations. You need to understand that having a strong faith is also having steadfast and unshakable confidence and assurance about the things that we hope for will truly happen.
Your time is coming! The dreams and desires, things you want to accomplish, and situations you want to see change will happen. Just because it has taken longer than you expected, or because you have tried and failed, never give up on those dreams. Never be complacent about pursuing what God has placed in your heart!
“But these things I plan won’t happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.” (Habakkuk 2:3 NLT)
Can You Have Hope Without Faith? Like an arrow, your faith points to the target of hope. If you do not have faith, that arrow will lose its momentum and just drop to the ground before reaching the target, and will not accomplish its goal. When your faith is strong and unwavering, and you continue to keep expecting and believing you will give your arrow the momentum to hit the target!
“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” (Hebrews 11:1, NLT)
Why not start today to choose to live with an attitude of expectancy. Begin by taking captive any negative thoughts that you may have (one at a time). Choose to release to God your cares and concerns, then stay focused on the goodness in your life. Get your hopes up! As you focus on your faith and God’s goodness, you will start to feel your hope inside you growing. You will truly give your faith a target and start to move forward with confidence. Then pray and thank God for the gift of faith to see the impossible become possible as you continue to hope for what He has put in your heart.
“So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” (Hebrews 4:16, NLT)
Notice in the verse above that God doesn’t say, “Come to Me with a weak, defeated, pitiful attitude.” He does not say, “Come to Me thinking about all your failures and how unworthy you are.” No, God says, come to Me with boldness. Come to Me with your head held high, knowing that I am a gracious God, and I truly want to help you!
Start declaring today, “My time is coming… God is working behind the scenes on my behalf… I will fulfill my destiny… I will fulfill the plan that God has for my life!” As you declare, expect and wait for the appointed time, your faith will grow. Your hope will grow. And you will step into the destiny that God has in store for you!