They are the trio most everyone who has been to a wedding remember from Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 13:13. The difference there is that he re-orders them “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” Elsewhere though, the emphasized order is: faith, love, and hope. (Romans 5:1-5; Galatians 5:5-6; Ephesians 4:2-5; Colossians 1:4-5; 1 Thessalonians 5:8; Hebrews 6:10-12, 10:22-24; 1 Peter 1:3-8, 21-22). This order seems to follow the path of a productive Christian life. The priority of the Christian life begins with belief in the good news of Jesus and a right response. Love, like faith then motivates us to action - a genuine faith yields a genuine love. Hope then comes at the end of the list because it orients us to the future.
Hope is defined as, “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen,” and the synonyms that capture much of the word’s confidence include: ambition, anticipation, aspiration, desire, dream, expectation, goal, promise, reward, Promised Land, and light at end of tunnel.” Paul encouraged the Corinthian church by saying, “Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold.” (2 Corinthians 3:12)
Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”
How easy it is in a season of suffering (and for many I know it is a protracted season) to slip into the darkness of our past hurts, the frustration of our present hang-ups, or fear of losing future dreams? May I remind you that our immediate hope, which achieves the impossible, has a name: Jesus.
One of my all-time favorite verses says “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31) Today you might have felt weary, broken, tired, or anxious, but since we have hope, we have the assurance that each day carries with it this renewal of God’s strength — a strength that we were never designed to live apart from, a strength that makes us soar…so stretch those wings!