Phyllis Beveridge Nissila
And now these three remain:faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13: 13, emphasis added)
Faith as in “belief, trust…fidelity, faithfulness.”
Hope as in “expectation…confidence.”
Love as in “benevolence, good will, esteem…divine love.”
Here is a good summary of why love is “the greatest of these”:
…Faith and hope are human: love is divine; it exists, always has existed, and ever will exist, in God himself, in whom the former graces can have no place, and is in him his highest glory. (Benson Commentary)
What prompted this post was considering how much faithlessness, untrustworthiness, lack of good will, dashed expectations, and loss of hope exist in our world today.
To be sure, there is always a certain amount of evil that spoils the potential of life in our fallen condition.
But I think everyone can agree that in our current world, humanity has deteriorated as never before–and quickly.
HOWEVER, by keeping the eternal view in mind, even in these “worst of times,” we can realize the “best of times” (to borrow from Charles Dickens).
Considering there is little left “down here” to put one’s faith and hope in leaves God’s love not only our best option but also our only option.
While there is still time.
Can’t we always do what we’ve done to thwart human depravity?
Consider, for exmple, just how much “they” can mess with how God made us by modern gene editing, a sample here.
Consider also what, in my view, are attempts to get rid of our free will so we no longer have the ability to choose who or Whom to place our faith, hope, and trust in–and the spiritual ramifications of that (shades of the Mark of the Beast?).
As faith and hope in the return of normalcy fades, that is to say, whatever good comprised our previous lives–just two years ago–God’s love and His plans for us surface bigger and brighter for those with eyes to see and ears to hear–and anyone else who so chooses* Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior:
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)
Granted, the physical sights and sounds just ahead in these (what many prophecy scholars believe are) “end times” will be challenges beyond imagination and nearly beyond endurance, but it is also written:
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
Corrie ten Boom, a member of the Dutch resistance during World War II who survived a Nazi concentration camp, may have been thinking of this scripture or a similar one when she wrote this:
Look around and be distressed.
Look within and be depressed.
Look at Jesus and be at rest.
And all others today who put their faith not in faith nor in hope but in God’s love, get a glimpse of the far greater and eternal normalcy infused with the peace of Christ that is already available no matter what. As Jesus, Himself, put it:
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27)
And He has not revoked that peace, even in these worst of times about which we were warned long, long ago:
Put not your trust in princes, in mortal man, who cannot save. (Psalm 146:3)
And to what may well be such a time as ours:
As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
4 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.
9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:3-14)
Carry on in the peace of Christ.**
*For information on how and why to become a born-again believer, see here.
**For inspiration and a little solace today: