– Ross Breitkreuz
Once upon a time, I was an athlete. In reality, it wasn’t THAT long ago, but how I feel most days makes what I once did seem as extinct, dead, and gone as the dinosaurs.
When I was playing hockey, there were three things that fuelled competition. These three things are important for anyone: training, diet, and rest. Fall short in one area, and you won’t get the full strength in another. There’s a similar relationship in our faith lives.
1 Corinthians 13:13 is a well-loved verse. It says, “Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love,” and ends by saying, “and the greatest of these is love.” I do not question the power or importance of love, but in this season of life, I can’t stop thinking about hope.
I think hope compliments faith and love much like rest bolsters training and diet. On its own, hope can be a peculiar thing. Some people see it as a pie-in-the-sky mindset that’s detached from reality. It’s as if they believe being hopeful means being naive. But Jesus wouldn’t list it with faith and love if that were the case.
Hope can be an anchor for our souls (Hebrews 6:19), a form of rest. Like an anchor, hope can keep us stable, grounded, and unmoving. Even when we are being pulled, when the wind and waves want to drag us another direction, hope can keep us grounded in a very real way. It does not require us to act oblivious about things that threaten us; rather, it can give us boldness to stare situations in the face, and find hope despite what we see.
This is the kind of hope the Apostle Paul often writes about in the Bible:
“Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping… Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises.” (Romans 4:18, 20-21)
Hope isn’t a blissful mindset, it’s an action word. Hope is faith, trust, endurance, perseverance, expectation, and confidence. In this season of life, who couldn't use more of this kind of hope!?
So, how do we gain it? If we have even the smallest amount of faith in God, our hope can grow. His Word contains a story that can breathe hope into our lives no matter what we are facing, however, it won’t simply rise up inside us without a CONSCIOUS effort.
The truth about hope is, it doesn’t start in our guts, our hearts, our spirits, or any other place we think we might “feel” it. Hope starts in the mind.
“And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.” (Romans 15:4)
Studies done by psychologists have long revealed that our emotions follow our cognitions (for the most part). This couldn’t be more true when it comes to hope. Years ago I heard a Pastor say, “theology conquers biology.” The Holy Spirit has a way of transforming our minds, shifting our focus, and helping us persevere.
This is why it’s so important to read the Bible—it can cause our hope to grow. If you’re not sure where to start, I’d recommend Hebrews 11. The Bible isn’t a list of rules of things that HAVE happened, it’s God’s resume.
When we write resumes, we showcase what we have done and accomplished. We offer a snapshot of what someone can anticipate from us in the future. It’s a statement about our character, skills, habits, and abilities. Then, we use character references to further solidify the truth of what we are saying. This is the Bible!
We should read the Bible with an awareness that great things didn’t just happen in the past—they can happen for us here and now, when we trust the God that the Bible testifies about. The Bible reveals that God is adequately qualified to handle the responsibilities, demands and stresses we face. We should read the Bible and think, “If He could handle that, He can handle this.”
If we have even a small amount of faith that the God of the Bible cares for us today, there is no scenario where we are left without hope. Hope grows from faith. Faith grows with hope. The hope we find in our trials grows our love. Overcoming seasons that seemed hopeless grows our faith. Gratitude for God’s provision grows our love for Him.
Faith, hope, love. The greatest of these is love, but strengthening one serves the other. Spend time in God’s Word, grow in hope. No matter what you are facing, I think you’ll discover, God is overqualified for the job.
“For we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and your love for all of God’s people, which come from your confident hope of what God has reserved for you in heaven.” (Colossians 1:4-5)
Ross Breitkreuz is one of our co.op artist partners! Click here to see more about Ross's work.