Most people celebrate hope as one of the advent concepts leading to Christmas. A dear minister friend of mine insisted upon faith as the concept to emphasize because faith was stronger than hope. With faith, hope was not necessary. Faith is complete trust or confidence in someone or something. Hope is a desire for a certain thing to happen. I see them working together until the very end when faith occurs and knowing is certain.
Hope begins with some trigger event or idea. We discover something that we want to have or experience at some point. If we really want it, we continue to act as if we expect it to occur in our lives. If we hope for a new car, we work to pay for it. We research cars and compare insurance costs. We decide where it will be. And at some point, maybe as we are driving to pick up the car, we have absolute faith that we’ll have it. And as we drive it away, we hope that everyone follows the traffic rules so that we all may live well together!
Hope doesn’t survive and mature unless we keep it alive. I remember as a teenage girl hoping that a certain boy would take special notice of me, and that in time we could be boyfriend and girlfriend. I supported that hope with just happening to be where he was at a certain time, looking and smelling good, and being friendly.
But as I got to know him, I decided that I really wasn’t interested in having a relationship with him. No hard feelings toward him, but the hope for that just vanished. I didn’t feed it with my thoughts and emotions. I didn’t get to have faith that we would be good together. That’s when folks get engaged.
Faith makes things happen. There are countless examples now of people who were given a diagnosis of never walking again, had hope, and then faith that they would be able to do so, and overcame the odds that prevented them from walking. They believed it. They followed doctor’s orders, and probably went beyond. They may have prayed with faith, trusting in the love of their Creator to heal well.
In the New Testament, Jesus performs many miracles and says to those healed that their faith made them well, or that they didn’t have enough to get well, or walk on water.
Faith was brought to my attention at age 7. I was walking home from my best friend’s house when her older brother tackled me from behind. It broke my left arm. That Christmas, he gave me a gold pin that had a glass ball with a mustard seed in it. I asked about it and was given the quotation by Jesus in Matthew 17:20 “… I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.’” I questioned my mom to exasperation about that one, but the power of faith has always stayed with me. I believe it is vastly underused by most people.
Repeatedly, Jesus told his followers to pray with faith. In Mark 11:24, we are given our part to play. “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Believing you have received it is faith. So when we pray, we pray with conviction.
“Thank you Creator of all for the gift of healing. I know you love me, and I receive your grace. I may not know the form, but I know the peace and love that comes from you,” is more powerful than “Dear God, I hope, if you want to and you’re not busy that you will fix my legs.”
Now if you’re still at the hope stage, find a person who has moved to the faith stage when they pray.
Hope is a continued focus on receiving something that we choose. Faith is the acceptance of it. It works for people who aren’t Christians, of course. God loves us all. Here are some examples:
1. Imagine the faith of Moses as he climbed Mt. Sinai to speak to God!
2. Quantum mechanics suggests that the effect of the observer on the physical system being observed must be understood as a part of that system. That means that what we think affects our world.
3. “Miracles are expressions of Love, but they may not always have observable effects.” A Course in Miracles Principle #35
4. “The Universe has your back.” Esther Abraham-Hicks
5. “Faith is important, not because it leads to salvation, but because the psychological qualities it imparts motivates one to walk the Path, prepares one for the journey and sustains one until results are achieved.” www.buddhanet
6. Faith in Islam is the moral ground and basis for action … The well-being of man, therefore depends upon faith that is accompanied by good actions. www.islamweb.net.
This is just a sample, meant to inspire you to call on your faith, and live with gusto! Move toward the highest you that you can imagine yourself to be. There is energy in the universe waiting to respond to a person who lives with conviction.
Hale `Opio Kaua’i convened a support group of adults in our Kaua’i community to “step into the corner” for our teens, to answer questions and give support to youth and their families on a wide variety of issues. Please email your questions or concerns facing our youth and families today to Annaleah Atkinson at firstname.lastname@example.org For more information about Hale ‘Opio Kaua’i, please go to www.haleopio.org