“And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.”
— 1 Corinthians 13:13 (NRSV)
For the converted Christian, in knowing God, there are these three things that abide in life—the spiritual life—which give abundance, strength, the wherewithal to live.
These three make the difference required for life to work.
With faith we have the ability to be patient, to endure great challenges of our times, and to apply courage to step forth into things God is calling us to. Hope underpins faith. Hope resides in the knowledge that God is with us, providing for us, giving us everything required to make that journey in faith.
But underpinning both faith and hope is love, for love is that sense of belonging that makes it all worth it. Love is the raw motive of and for life.
When We Have Love
When we are loved, and we feel we belong, and are valued for who we are, faith is easier and hope is almost a given.
When we are loved, we know a sense of peace of place, of time, and of opportunity in this life. There is the presence of joy within us.
When we have love, all of life seems to fit better together—the pain in with the pleasure, along with the drudgery, the challenges, the opportunities, and the celebrations. The whole kit and caboodle.
Love makes life worth it. Love is the reason we have hope and is the catalyst for our faith.
Love protects us from many mental ills, just as a lack of morality in a person can be blamed, almost entirely, on a lack of experienced love. Those given to crime, in a general sense, were never loved as they needed to be loved. For this we can understand and even pity them. Not that this is an excuse, just a fact of the power of love to make the difference between spiritual life and spiritual death in a person.
When We Feel We Have No Love Coming Our Way
This is our biggest challenge to life.
Where we feel we don’t belong, that were not accepted, that we have no place to belong, our hope shrivels to nothing and our faith is the capacity severely compromised. We cannot achieve much without faith. And life without hope is despairing.
But there is love.
There is hope.
There is the ability to draw on faith.
Hope in God. God loves us all... much more than any human being could. God’s love is unconditional, but to experience God’s love we must accept his Son. Then, we have hope. Then, we have the ability to achieve things in faith. Then, we understand life!
Love is the beginning of life. When we are loved, and we feel we belong, and are valued for who we are, faith is easier and hope is almost a given. Love makes life worth it. Love is the reason we have hope and is the catalyst for our faith. God is love.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.
Photo Credit: Jeppe Madsen.