The Seed of Hope

A gift for tomorrow

Faith and Hope

I was watching the national evening news on one of the major networks a couple of weeks ago, and there was a segment devoted to a poll that had been taken in a small town in Ohio. I can’t remember the name of the town, and I mean no offense, but in regards to this post it really doesn’t matter; it could have been Anywhere, USA. And while I may be a little fuzzy on the particulars (Jackie and I were preparing supper at the time), I am able to recall the essence of the story.

 

The multiple-choice question posed to the people of this town was short and to the point:

 

Compared to this time last year, do you believe that the state of the economy is:

 

A.     Better

B.      Worse

C.      About the same

 

Eight percent of the respondents believed the economy to be better than it was a year ago. Incredulous that anyone, in any town, believed the economy to be better than it was last year, this network decided to do a feature story, not on the town, but on one of the eight percent!

 

The opening shot was that of a modest home in a quiet neighbor, and the camera lens honed in on a small white sign that was posted in one of the windows. The sign quite simply read 8%.

 

The next scene was in the kitchen of this home, and its owner, a gentleman, I don’t know, maybe in his fifties, was seated at the table being interviewed by the network’s field reporter. At some point in the interview, the following question was asked:

 

“How can you possibly believe that the state of the economy is better today than it was a year ago?”

 

I stopped what I was doing because I had to hear this guy’s answer. I mean, I walk with God, and my faith is strong, and I’m the eternal optimist, but come on…..this guy had to be nuts!

 

This average looking Joe, in an average little home, in an average little neighborhood, calmly looks into the camera and says:

 

Hope means that you want something to happen. Faith means that you know it’s going to happen.”

 

I stood dumbfounded for a moment, as I processed his affirmation. It was so simple, yet so profound. For the rest of the evening I reflected on what this stranger had said and its impact on me. I went to sleep thinking about the notions of hope and faith, and their influence on people’s lives. Which led me to my own questions?

 

Is it possible to have faith with no hope?

Is it possible to have hope with no faith?

 

Before this question, let me offer you some thoughts that are bouncing around in this noggin’….

 

During the first 53 years of my life I knew who God was, had faith in Him, and turned to Him in times of need. I attended church regularly and prayed regularly (though not nearly enough). I believed God to be the creator of all things. If you’ve ever heard, read, or recited the Apostle’s Creed (or Nicene Creed in some churches), I held all of its affirmations to be true. I accepted the existence of The Holy Trinity, though I must admit that as a teenager, there were a few times when I tried to figure out how the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit could be One. I believed in heaven, feared the devil, and tried to do what I thought God wanted me to do. All signs of faith. All consistent with conventional definitions of faith, right?

 

Yet I had no hope. No hope that things would be better. No hope that things could be better. How could this be? How could faith not be accompanied by hope? How could faith on a Sunday not be accompanied by hope for Monday?

 

The answer lies in the simple fact that my faith was based on what I’d been taught about God in religion class, what I had read about God in books, and what I had been told about God by my parents.

 

I knew who God was, but I didn’t know God. You may be wondering “What’s the difference?” Let me offer you an analogy…..I remember the first time that I stood at the rim of the Grand Canyon, overcome with emotion at the spectacle of God’s handiwork. I was so overwhelmed, that for several minutes I could do nothing more than take in the beauty of what my eyes saw as tears streamed down my face, while my mind feebly attempted to process what I was seeing as my heart attempted to handle the explosion of emotion in what I felt. I had wanted to see the Grand Canyon all of my life; I’d read about it, seen movies about it, and studied pictures of it. Yet none of those things prepared me for the experience.

 

I can “mentally” paint a picture of what I saw and convey the emotions of what I felt that day to you, but until you actually stand at the rim of that canyon and experience it for yourself, you will never feel what I did.

 

What I’m trying to tell you is this:

 

On November 5, 2006 I asked Christ to take my hand and lead me to wherever I was supposed to go, to help me to do what I was supposed to do, and to be whatever I was supposed to be. I invited Him in. And on that day, for the first time in my life, I truly felt the presence of God. And you know what? Neither the religion classes, or the books, or my parents had truly prepared me for the moment. I don’t know that any one or any thing could have.

 

God has been with me, been a part of my consciousness, every day since. Along the way there have been a many of those “Grand Canyon” moments, feeling God in my life in different ways, and feeling Him work through me each day. I’ve learned oh so much about Him, and I know that there is so much more to learn, so much more than I will probably ever learn. Much like the Holy Trinity, I don’t try to figure out the mysteries of God, or why He does what he does. I just know… I have faith, that He will provide me with what I need, and I’ll gratefully and humbly accept what He provides.

 

Which brings me full circle, back to the topic of faith. As my “knowing” of Christ has grown, so has my faith. It is stronger than ever….unwavering, unbending, never ceasing.

 

My faith has allowed me to hope, to dream about things. Curiously enough, I don’t really hope for anything for me personally. God will give me what I need.

 

My hope is that all who don’t ‘know’ God, or walk with faith, or dare to even hope for more will seek Him out and receive His goodness. My dream is that The Seed of Hope will help those that are seeking Him to find their way.

 

Once more, I pose these questions to you:

 

Is it possible to have faith with no hope?

Is it possible to have hope with no faith?

 

God is good.

 

 

Contact me: sam@theseedofhope.com

 

 

 

Comments

Linda wrote on 04/04/09 9:35 AM

It's truly amazing how often God speaks to us and we don't even hear him. Most people don't recognize His voice. When you really know Him, you can always hear Him, but you must be listening, and you must be open to the fact that He is not limited in any way. You can hear Him in the song playing on the radio, the evening newscast, the newspaper, etc. I have found Him in what I would have considered very unusual places. But there He was. Always right there beside me, encouraging me, teaching me, guiding me. Our God is an awesome God! Thank you, Sam, for continuing to open your heart, for being completely vulnerable with your feelings! You are an inspiration to me and countless others.
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