Give me a word, Lord: FAITH AND HOPE

Hebrews 11:1-3 Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen. For our ancestors won God’s approval by it. By faith we understand that the universe was created by God’s command, so that what is seen has been made from things that are not visible.

Romans 8:24-25 Now in this hope we were saved, yet hope that is seen is not hope, because who hopes for what he sees?  But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with patience.

Romans 8:28 We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose. 

Yesterday, we were able to join an adult Sunday School class as students for the first time in many years. We taught the youth class for a few years, then third through sixth grade, and most recently we taught the college and career age group. Our church is small, and our college and career students have all moved on to different destinations as they follow God’s paths for them. We miss our class, but let me tell you something, Peeps, it sure was nice being the student yesterday. I’m excited about being able to sit in a Sunday School class weekly and be fed the Word in a small group setting with classmates in my age group.

Our lesson yesterday came from Hebrews 11:1-3. My Bible that I bring to church is the HCSB translation. I have several translations at home, but I like this one for church services because there is a lot of room in the margins for note taking, and I am an avid not taker. This version defines faith as “the reality of what is hoped for and the proof of what is not seen.” We compared a few translations in our class, and found that the word reality was replaced by the word assurance, confidence, and substance depending on the translation that was being read. I like the HCSB version with the word reality because that is really what it is. Faith is the reality of what is hoped for. We left Sunday School, and went into morning worship, and wouldn’t you know it, the lesson spilled over into our pastor’s sermon. He didn’t know what we studied in Sunday School, yet he preached out of Romans 8, verses 18-30, He always tells us that “everything is rigged for our good and God’s glory,” and once again this proved to be true. It’s rigged, y’all. God gave us a message that we needed to hear yesterday, and maybe He thought, “these knuckleheads may not get it the first time so just to be sure I’ll give them the message a second time.”

We have hope! If you look around right now, things don’t look very hopeful. I’m sitting here at five o’clock at my kitchen table typing away as my husband is watching the morning weather report. Hurricane Sally is coming ashore later tonight, and it looks like she will be coming in just south of us. We live about 45 miles from the coast, and we will surely feel the affects. I’ll be leaving for work in a bit, and won’t get home until around 7:30 tonight. There is continued chaos all around with the COVID pandemic, wildfires in Oregon and California, rioting, and ugliness. Yet here I sit in the comfort of my kitchen typing and at ease. How and why? Because I have faith in Christ, and that faith lies in the reality that my hope is in things eternal and not merely the temporary things of the present. I have faith in Christ.

Does that faith mean that I simply ignore the troubles of the world? Definitely not, but I have learned to endure them knowing that Christ will work it all out for my good and His glory. He has proven this to me time and time again. We may suffer a little, or maybe even a lot, on this side of heaven, but the bit of suffering we are enduring now can not even compare to the eternal future that Christ has prepared for us in heaven. If we have accepted Christ as our Savior, we are promised eternity with Him in heaven. I’ve never seen heaven, but I have read about it. I have dreamed about it. I have imagined it in my mind, but I’ve never seen it. The fact that I have never seen it makes it no less real to me. I know that it is a reality. I have faith in this reality that I hope for because it is promised to me in the Word of God, and God doesn’t break His promises.

We can rejoice during our trials because we know that no matter what happens, it is not the end. We have hope that promises a future in heaven, and faith in that hope supersedes any doubt or fear that we have regarding the current worries and trials. I have a plaque in my office at work that reads, “Pray more, worry less,” and I am here to tell you that this mantra has become my life song! I pray with faith that is the REALITY of what is hoped for even though I can’t see it. I stand fully on the promises of Christ. Do you have faith and hope today?

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