“And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
I Corinthians 13:13
I’ve pondered this verse since January or February. I’ve thought about faith and hope the most. What they mean in my life and what they mean in the context of love. Faith, I have decided, has two directions. It moves from us to God, and from God to us. Faith is my trust in God. It is my determined, desperate grasp on His character, goodness, and promises when circumstances might lead me to conclude me that He is a liar, does not care, enjoys playing with my emotions, and has forgotten about me. Faithfulness is also an everlasting characteristic of God. He is faithful to me. He keeps His promises, and He sustains my soul in the waiting when hope is lost and joy seems a distant memory.
Hope is an anchor for the soul (Hebrews 6:19), and it represents the things I wish for and dream about. Hope is tied to promises. It is linked with the return of Christ. It is the rising of the sun, and the unshakeable knowledge that when the sun rises, it will set and faithfully start that process all over again.
Sometimes, I have a hard time distinguishing faith and hope. Even Hebrews 11:1 links them, “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Faith is confidence that the Lord is who He says He is and will do what He says He will do. Hope is linked to God’s character, actions, and promises. Through faith, we know that what we hope for is true even though we cannot see it.
I’m still deciding how the relationship between faith and hope connects with love, which is the greatest of the three. So far, I have decided that love is the greatest because it is eternal while faith and hope are not. When Christ returns and all believers are united with Him, we do not need faith and hope anymore because we have finally seen God, and he has accomplished everything He said He would. Hope also fades away because, in Christ, all wishes and dreams have been satisfied, and we are now fully and eternally anchored in His love.
So love, I think, is the realization of faith and hope. It is perfect satisfaction, perfect peace, and perfect union. It reminds us of the endurance required to maintain our faith and hope until we are finally united with Christ. Faith and hope hold our testimonies and the testimonies of those who came before us, much like the ancients Hebrews 11 commends.
I look forward to a day when faith and hope retire because our souls are finally satisfied in full. But until that day arrives, I am glad that faith and hope are here to help us in the waiting.