Hope that is seen is not hope
Isaiah 44: 6-8 (NRSVA)
6 Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel
and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts:
I am the first and I am the last;
besides me there is no god.
7 Who is like me? Let them proclaim it,
let them declare and set it forth before me.
Who has announced from of old the things to come?
Let them tell us what is yet to be.
8 Do not fear, or be afraid;
have I not told you from of old and declared it?
You are my witnesses!
Is there any god besides me?
There is no other rock; I know not one.
There’s a thorny question for every Christian around planet earth. There’s going to come a time when you have to take something on faith. With faith brings hope. Sometimes you have to dare to hope. We live in a world right now where our whole internet messaging comes from someone with a vested interest and almost all of the TV beaming into our houses tell us everything with an editorial slant. So by default we have to question what we see and hear to try and discern a truth. Its exhausting, my mother gets her news from Russia Today for goodness sake. That’s how much faith she has in BBC bias.
Anyway, faith. At some point every Christian will have to confront this one. Was Jesus who he said he was and is the idea of a “God” even relevant in the modern world? We understand how the universe was born (or have some decent maths to explain it) and we have some reasonable theories on how it will end (and have some rather more shaky maths to explain this). So what place for God? I work in a profession where God was banished some time ago in favour of science. Thing is, I don’t actually work with people who are ‘science problems’ I work with human beings who have a physical and I believe a metaphysical existence. Sit quietly in a room with someone, anyone. Tell me you don’t “feel” something. So, you have to make a choice at this stage (and this is just human contact) is there “more” to this person than math and chemistry?
It’s self-evident — of course there is.
Being a Christian is about making a choice — based on evidence from scripture (as much a historical text as any), and the “case for Christ” (read Lee Strobel for more). Then open yourself up to the Spirit of God, this is something you can feel. For me it’s a rushing wind or the lightness of helium but for you it might be different.
Pray for faith — because that one’s a gift that, as well as demanding intellectual effort on our part, can arise from the Spirit of God. Faith gives us hope that all that we see is not just what’s there and what’s physical but also what's metaphysical. You see, so much of the Bible upon which we base faith harmonises with current scientific theory, more so every year.
All of the above though, is fine when we don’t “need” God. Just think about the above and seek and you’ll find him.
Sometimes though, things are neither rosy, nor organised, nor good; it’s not an intellectual but a “gut” exercise and that’s when you’ll meet God, that’s when you’ll feel his spirit, and that’s when you’ll really understand about faith and — through faith — experience hope.
And hope lasts forever.
Lord help me have faith, unshakeable faith in a truth that I feel but cannot always see
Lord give me hope, that when the world falls around my ears, you shield me with your body and your love
Lord when I fall down pick me up and set me back on the path you have set before me
Finally Lord, help me discern the unseen, the unspoken, unbelievable and wonderful truth that you are alive and living in me and that your love lights my way