Followers of Christ often find it easy to affirm the importance of faith, hope, and love. We acknowledge that according to the Scriptures, without faith, it is impossible to please God (Heb 11:6). We hear that without love we are somewhere between noise and nothing (1Cor 13:1-2). We admit that without hope, we are just like those who are without God in the world (1Thess 4:13).
But here’s the problem:
- How can we show faith… without problems that bring us to the end of ourselves (2Cor 1:9)?
- How can we show hope in God (Rom 5:2-4)… as long as our world is secure and intact?
- How can we show the love we are called to (1Cor 13)… unless someone insults us, betrays our trust, or deprives us of natural affection?
Could it be that the problems we would never ask for or even wish on others are actually giving us—in proportion to their degree of difficulty—our opportunities for faith, hope, and love?
Am beginning to realize I’ve spent way too much of my life asking God for conditions that give me a chance to show natural capacity and affection—rather the faith, hope, and love of Christ…