“23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful; 24 and let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near,” (Hebrews 10:23-25).
There is a certain path which leads us to God our Father in heaven. I call it so because it seems with or within every step there is a connection to the next step that could help us grow in our understanding of God. Since to understand means also to know, then as we travel along this path we can expect to grow closer to God through our knowledge and understanding of Him. In the last meditation, "The Triumphs of Faith", the author of the book of Hebrews helped us to understand the definition of “faith”. Faith paralleled with acceptance is the first step on our Christian path to God. Recalling that faith means a promised certainty – or an “assurance … and a conviction of things to come,” we realize that in the word faith, God left us another message, a message of hope – “a conviction of things to come”. Since it is through one word that we are given the other, we can say that faith and hope are very closely related. What is that relationship? Is the hope which faith delivers the same kind of hope that we know in our everyday life?
When we think about how the word hope is used in our lives it becomes clear that human hope is mere wishful thinking: “I hope it doesn’t rain today.” But faith is not delivering that same meaning of hope to us. Hope in relation to faith is based on the certainty that God will do exactly what He said He would do and He will fulfill every promise He has made. There is no aspect of hope that is wishful in faith, it is absolute. However, hope in human terms is imperfect because we have limitations and we often fail to do what we said we would do. Divine hope or supernatural hope as written by the author to the Hebrews on the other hand, is about a “hope beyond human hope” because it points to God who is utterly reliable and true to His word and who is all-powerful to fulfill all that He has promised.
In the Gospel of Mathew, chapter 9, there are recordings of the many miracles that Jesus performed when He came back to His home town. One particular event tells about the faith of two blind men who had heard of Jesus long ago but was never able to be near Him. This time He was walking by them after having brought a woman’s little girl back to life. When He walked by them they called out, “…have mercy on us, Son of David!" When the two men came to Jesus He asked them, "Do you believe that I am able to do this?" "Yes, Lord," they replied. Then He touched their eyes and said, "According to your faith will it be done to you"; and their sight was restored,” (Mathew 9:27-30). It would be ironic for us to ask if faith is blind in this situation, though we know the usage of the word “blind” is different in these two cases. Still, however, we clearly see from this example that faith is not blind in these men it is absolute and it is the hope which the Holy Spirit gives them that enables them to have this sure faith.
As these men’s faiths were tested so too shall our faith be tested throughout life. For some of us it seems that it is tested again and again for reasons only God knows. However, having hope in our hearts enables us to persevere when our faith is put to the test. In some of these trials we experience setbacks, difficulties, and failures, but God will triumph through it all and accomplish His purpose for us anyhow. That is why God gives us the gift of hope which “the Holy Spirit pours into our heart” to strengthen our faith and endurance to persevere to the end without wavering (Romans 5:3-5).
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