What is this thing I call my faith?
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1
I know I’ve spent some good Christian years in the shadows, and I’m recognizing in so many the leanings toward despair. I’ve only just now made the correlation of faith to hope, how we can be so sure of those invisible things that we keep on trucking, that we hold tight to faith even when it seems nothing good comes of it.
I often want to hang on to the day instead, steer it like a mule. I want control, want to cling to my boys as if they aren’t souls and to my marriage as if its vow made us of tangible stone. I want a detailed outline to the story of my life and to the books I’ll write and to see modified behavior based on humankind’s loyalty. It doesn’t work that way.
For now we only have the elements, the bread and the wine, but we don’t yet have the table with Jesus. For now I close my eyes and drink him down, wish I had a bottle, and then I lean back on my sister. Lindsey knows enough to cut me deep, but she holds me up instead. She’s an element of hope. But I do not put my hope in community, church.
Often I think the things that give us reason to boast are the things on which we hope – our community, the gatherings, the creativity, and the blessings.
Recently our conviction has been to not put our hope or boasting even in the happiness that comes with servitude. I don’t hope in my boys’ maturity or that I’ll grow old and swing on a sun-shaded porch with Seth. I do not hope to write a book that people will actually read. If any of these or other great, not-yet things come to happen, they will merely be the elements of hope, little reminders of our real life to come.
I put my hope in Jesus Christ, for His horse to come strong, for drink at His table, my mouth at His feet, His singing voice in my ear. My cup will run over, and when it does I’ll laugh with real vocal cords, and there may even be dogs there swishing their tails (if there’s a horse, you know?).
I’m going to go meet my lost babies and Eliot and C.S.Lewis, and I’m going to see Aunt Dot and my Mamaw and admire the design with Grandma Mouk (how happy she is right now), because I know they are in Jesus. And in Jesus, we’ll be known with our real names as we really really are, just as He’ll be fully known. There will be no looking through a glass darkly. It’s possible there will be no untuned pianos, no horrible organs, and no old people with hitches in their giddy-ups, but I’m not sure.
It’s all we really want, the only reasoning we have to meet together or to do a good deed or to drive out fear or negative expectations or despair; all we’re really wanting is to be in Him, to be (enveloped by) His glory. And “hope does not disappoint” (Romans 5:5).
To be a Christian is to have HOPE.
“Most people, if they had really learned to look into their own hearts, would know that they do want, and want acutely, something that cannot be had in this world. There are all sorts of things in this world that offer to give it to you, but they never quite keep their promise.
At present we are on the outside… the wrong side of the door. We discern the freshness and purity of morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure. We cannot mingle with the pleasures we see. But all the pages of the New Testament are rustling with the rumor that it will not always be so. Someday, God willing, we shall get “in”… We will put on glory… that greater glory of which Nature is only the first sketch.
We do not want to merely “see” beauty–though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words–to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it.”
– C.S. Lewis