Friday, November 5, 2010

3 piece puzzle

I haven't written since Monday. Not because I don't have anything to write about, but mostly because I'm ashamed of what I would say. I don't want you to have to listen to me whine and moan about how tired I am, or how this situation really sucks. I think I've said that already. But that's the hole I've been in - and I've been digging it deeper. I've been focused on that part of Genesis 22, that long night Abraham spent dealing with what God asked him to do, in sacrificing his most precious child of promise. Those hours Abraham spent waiting for morning and determining whether or not he was going to believe in this God no one else around him followed.

In the end, he did follow. He got up early to do it. And I will too. But I don't necessarily think you want to hear about how miserable it is, dealing with a child who feels good during the day, but so bad at night she barely sleeps. Nor dealing with a housing situation that will come to an end in less than 15 days.

I don't really like to air my dirty laundry, I only like to let a few pieces sit on the line for a bit, then pull it back in and move one.

So, there you have it. I have been down and burnt out. I know that's understandable, but at the same time, not acceptable. That's what we've been up to. Going about our days bleary-eyed and impatient. Which I'm sure if the 2nd stage of this "new normal."

No hair has fallen out yet, but we already have a wealth of hats to sustain her when it days - because of many saints that love us, even when we can barely love each other.

Sorry to be Debbie Downer!

In an effort to get back in balance, I thought I would post a summary, since it is my first theological-type writing (and that is what this blog is for, after all), in 4 days. I hope my friend Kay doesn't mind, but I really liked her question and I know she is not the only one that has it. Why she asked me, I'll never know, but she is certainly the vessel God is using to remind me of my true self.

(My disclaimer is that I have no theological training, other than my own study. These are just my opinions, so consult your local pastor if you want a more qualified answer!)

She asked me the difference between faith and hope. In case you want to know how I've worked it out in my head - here it is.

(I base these comments primarily on verses in Romans, Colossians, Hebrews and smattering in some of the Gospels - like Luke.)

Since Scripture makes it clear they aren't the same thing, but related - I look at them as 3 interconnected circles.

First - faith is the fuel for new spiritual life. Since we can't believe when we are "dead" (spiritually speaking), if we have faith in Christ, we are reborn - made alive. We are given the ability to believe by The Lord Himself. Just like we love because He first loved us, we believe because He planted that seed in us. We can either choose to believe or not, but if we do, that is The Spirit working in us - cultivating that seed because our hearts are leaning that way. (ask - and it will be given kind of deal). Faith is that recognition to accept and determine that God's way IS right for us, that our way is wrong and we want to follow Him. Our faith deepens and expands the more we spend time in relationship with Him. It is a living breathing, organic part of us. It's the oxygen for the soul/spirit.

Second, hope fosters in the soil of faith. I don't think you can have hope without faith because without a saving faith in Christ, there is nothing to put your hope in. You could think of hope as trust in His promises that He is going to do what He says He will do. I don't know if I think hope grows or it just is, but hope comes from faith. It, too, is alive. Hope believes that He is sovereign and all powerful, that He will, one day, right all wrongs. Hope is the bone of our spiritual skeleton. It is what gets us moving and keeps us going. It is the joy of our salvation - through faith.

Now, you can't talk about faith and hope without mentioning love, which for most people is the most accessible part of the equation. But to round out my comments here, love is the muscle of our spiritual body. Faith feeds it and makes love strong, so it can work and honor and glorify. Hope brings joy, which makes love uncontainable.

I don't think you can have 1 without the other 2. They feed on the same source, part of the same family tree as God Himself. They are the essence of Christianity.

But the greatest, as Paul says, of these is love. Because love made God send His only Son to teach us the way, pay the price for us, and sent His very Spirit to mold us, continually into His image and make Himself known to the world!

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