"Faith is the assurance of things hoped for...." (Hebrews 11:1)
My faith is being tested. I could dwell on all the ways I'm FREAKING OUT, on all the things that are going wrong, on all the fears I have about how it's not going to work out. However, I'm fasting (in case you missed it, check out this post: http://inthebecoming.blogspot.com/2010/11/advent.html). Part of my fast is refraining from complaining; the other part is choosing to dwell on the good gifts God has given me.
So, I choose to dwell on the promise. I choose to focus on what I have to look forward to, what I am hoping for. For He has given me specific things to hope for in this season...promises I know He is working out. But...
"Hope is fragile. It has been said that hope 'dances on the edge of wishing.'" This from last Sunday's Advent sermon at St. Michael's. It struck me. I have been carrying it around inside ever since.
If hope is fragile, then what am I clinging to? God has given me hope, yes, but He has called me to something greater.
I've been carrying something else around inside of me for a little over a week now. It is this excerpt from my friend Michael Warden's blog series about addressing a need for change in your life: "Faith is not hope. Hope says, 'It’s possible.' Faith says, 'It’s inevitable. No maybe about it. It will happen.'"
"Faith is the assurance of things hoped for...." Or, in the New Living Translation: "Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see." (Hebrews 11:1) Faith is hope taken to the next level.
God has spoken to me and my family very specifically during this season. He has led us into new places and asked us to have faith that He will provide. The crux? The place He has led us to is a place we have hoped to be all our lives. Now, we are living in hope through faith.
Our priest said something else during Sunday's sermon that stuck to my insides. (I'm paraphrasing here...) "It's okay to need evidence." She was talking about how the early Christians looked back at their Jewish heritage - at things God had already done - to remind themselves that He will act. Another example from Scripture: God's rainbow (Genesis 9).
"I am giving you a sign of my covenant with you and with all living creatures for all generations to come. I have placed my rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign...." (Genesis 9: 12-13, NLT)
God knows us so well. He knows our faith will falter. He knows that sometimes we will slip back into hope alone or even simple wishing. During those times He's there to remind us, to give us a sign, to help us remember (re-member...to bring together, to make whole...in this instance, to draw me back to Him, to Truth).
By His grace and with His help, I believe that what He has spoken to me, to my family will come to pass. Not just believe but act as though it is already so. Even on the days when I'm totally, completely, hopelessly freaking out.
Amen, Christ Jesus, let it be.