When I was younger, I hoped a lot of things for myself. I hoped I’d have a long career in education. I hoped I’d become an award-winning or bestselling author. I hoped I’d become a successful stand-up comic. I hoped I’d become a successful YouTuber.
The dictionary tells us hope is a feeling. The thing about feelings is that they, like movie schedules or the cellulite on your thighs, are subject to change, and sometimes without prior notice. This is why it’s important to know the difference between hope and faith.
Hebrews 11:1 tells us, “now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
When all we have is hope, our foundation is feelings, and that’s not always the most stable foundation to have. When we have faith, we have more than just feeling, we have an assurance of that for which we hope, and conviction in something that has happened yet.
The context for Hebrews 11:1–where in the previous chapter, we learned the early Christians were able to sacrifice and love others and accept the seizure of their property as part of the persecution they were experiencing–is essential to taking in the full weight of this verse. In Chapter 10, people were called to sacrificial love; in Chapter 11, we are introduced to several people whose lives showed the impact of a great faith, that is, the assurance of things hoped for.
They were able to overcome their current circumstances because they had faith–not just hope–that God would see them through. And no matter what happened, that for which they were expectant–the glory of the Father through their situation, whatever it was–would happen, either in this lifetime or the next.
Thing is, the transition from hope to faith is a journey that every person takes at his own pace. The fact that I’m older–with so much more white hair to prove it–sometimes makes me question if these hopes are still worth nurturing in my heart. Then, when I look at these hopes through the lens of faith–will it glorify God?–it becomes clear what hopes need to be nurtured and what hopes need to die to themselves.
Whatever you’re hoping for in life, I have faith that God will open your eyes to see which are worth praying for, and which need to be laid to rest. Have a great day!