When you have gone through a trial have you heard someone say, “you just need to have faith?” Or maybe during a dark season someone has said, “you need to hold onto hope.” While these statements are not wrong I believe something deeper needs to happen.
It’s not just faith or only hope but a three team. Faith, hope, and love. If faith, hope, and love are not fully residing in our hearts we are off-kilter. We need all three active in our hearts and lives in order to have peace.
Faith. What is faith? What does it look like when it is active in our hearts? In Genesis 22, God asks Abraham to take his son to Mt. Moriah and sacrifice him there. The next morning Abraham sets out on the journey there. It took several days to reach the location. Abraham could have returned around many times. He could have said, “this is crazy, no way God!” Yet he continued all the way up the mountain, tied his son up, and reached for the knife. Abraham had faith. The faith to believe that God knew what was best, that God was sovereign. Faith drives us into the impossible.
Hope. What is hope? Or maybe a better question is who is hope? What does hope look like in our hearts and lives? Hope is not just an idea it is a person; the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus came to earth to bring hope. Isaiah 61 tells us Jesus’ mission. He came to free captives from darkness, heal the brokenhearted, comfort the sad, bring beauty for ashes, joy to replace mourning, and a spirit of praise instead of despair. Jesus is the hope we need in the midst of life. The hope Jesus brings, the hope Jesus is provides the cream our burning hearts need.
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor. Isaiah 61:1-3 NIV
An example of when Hope is present in the heart: For six months my dad went through rigorous chemotherapy treatments. Every other week he spent five days laying in a hospital bed as chemicals poured through his body to kill the cancer growing rapidly in his brain. Month after month there was little to no change. Despite the fact the scans showed little improvement, my dad continued to walk his life. Not angry, not bitter, not even asking why. Every day he tried his best to do what he saw before him to do. Every day he stepped one foot in front of the other and said, “Here I am Lord, use me.” The cancer was not dictating his heart or reactions. Something else, someOne else was. He continued to get up every morning and do what he could even though his vision was fading. Somedays he was able to tinker around at the farm. Other days he stayed home but then helped can peaches and applesauce. My dad didn’t know the outcome. Was this cancer going to take his life? The question lingered in the air, yet he continued to smile. He continued to tell people of the “little” miracles he was experiencing. My dad had Hope with him in this journey. He had the person of Hope reigning in his heart so the idea of hope came across in his actions and words. Despite the high odds, this brain cancer could take him the presence of Hope outweighed the despair. Hope allows us to see life beyond our difficult and painful circumstances.
Love. “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV What is this great love? What does it look like when it is active in our hearts? Once again, Jesus is our greatest example of love. The Bible displays His love all over its pages. The woman at the well, the woman caught in adultery, raising Lazarus from the dead, healing the blind and lame, and ultimately dying on the cross. The expression of love comes in many forms but it always thinks of another first. When we are going through a trial or dark place the love we need is holy, pure, and from God. The love that says, “you are worthy,” “you are valuable,” “you are seen and heard,” “you are loved amidst this life hurricane.” When this Love takes residence in our hearts we have the ability to also have faith and hope. Love is the greatest, love is the gateway into having faith and hope also active in our hearts and lives.
As a young Christian, I did not have love in my heart. The love that said, “you are worthy,” “you are priceless.” Without love, I walked in a season of darkness. Faith and hope were not activated in my heart without Love. How can we have the faith to believe God is good when we feel useless? How can we have hope that things will get better when we feel worthless? We can’t and we won’t without love. Both the person of Love and the acceptance of His love need to be planted and nourished in our heart soil. When the love of God penetrates our hard and sad heart condition we can begin to see our worth, our value as daughters and sons of the King. Every single one of us was worth dying for. Jesus said yes to every soul. Jesus hung on the cross because He said, “you are worth it.” He wanted you in heaven with Him.
What do we need when we are in the midst of trial and darkness? Faith, hope, and love. The three-team that expresses the person and heart of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.