One thing my physical condition allows me to do is to predict the weather. In the wintertime, I can tell you even before my eyes are open if a weather front has come in and the barometer has dropped. In the beginning, I would panic each time. The pain and stiffness in my limbs during those times is very severe. Would the pain end? I hoped so. However, in reality, my mind would run with that pain and believe that it would never end. It was a hope empty of any substance. The emotional roller coaster, on top of the pain, drained the little energy remaining. However, soon a pattern revealed itself. The front came in, and so did the increase in debilitation. The front went out, and much of the pain was relieved. Now when a front comes in, I "have faith" that it will pass. I have "the hope" that the pain will be relieved as well. I can have faith in this hope, because I have seen the pattern.
Do you remember the little train trying to climb the steep hill? All the way up he said, "I think I can. I think I can. I think I can." Once he had made it to the top, this was no longer a wishful thought, he knew. He had the hope that the next time he would make it, once again, up that hill.
The writer of Hebrews describes this very idea.
Hebrews 11:1 – Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (NASB)
Like the hope I have that when the storm front passes I will have some relief from my pain, I have hope that God is working in each of our lives. It is not just a wish; this working of God is a reality. We may not get to know what that work will look like, but we can have faith in that hope because of the many ways that God's loving work has already been revealed in our lives. Perhaps it is money to meet a need arriving at just the right moment; or, perhaps it is in time spent with a friend, filled with gleeful laughter; or, even during one of those rainy days, perhaps it is the peace the gentle sound of the rain can pour into an otherwise anxious heart.
Many times acquaintances will comment that I seem to be holding up so well under what seems to be a catastrophic turn of events, that I always have a smile for them. Perhaps it is because "who I am" is not dependent on what my body is doing at that moment. Who I am is because of who I am in God. I am God's child and I am loved with a love greater than that of any parent. Moreover, as my Parent, God has my best interests at heart. Herein is my hope. Because of this hope, I can have faith for the future. My faith, how I choose to live this life each day, is the evidence of where my hope lies.
Prayer: O God of hope, fill each one of us with all joy and peace in believing, so that we will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen. (Romans 15:13 NASB paraphrased)