The Never-Ending Interconnectivity of Faith, Hope and Love

Now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 

1st Corinthians 13:13

As I write this blog I am waking up to a world of darkness.  Sure, the pandemic has been bad, but today, the darkness is real. It cuts. It hurts. For I found out last night that the 19 year-old son of a dear friend of mine committed suicide yesterday and my heart is broken. I mourn the loss of his life and I cannot imagine the pain and anguish his parents and siblings are living through right now.  And as I process it all, a different verse of scripture comes to mind….I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart – Romans 9:2

As I read my daily meditation I am reminded all over again that “Faith doesn’t shield us from affliction.”  And one might ask, Then why have faith at all?

Over the years, I have asked myself this question more than once. My faith in Jesus Christ and God, really, what has it gotten me in life? And every time I can answer the question in one word – EVERYTHING. So many times in my life I have found myself consumed with the supposed realities of life, chasing the almighty dollar, the riches, the pleasures, thinking that somehow that is where my identity, my fulfillment in life would come from. And then, in a single moment, the importance of those realities would be shattered when I learn of something as tragic as my friend’s son taking his own life.  And it is in those moments when I realize why I have my faith – because it is where my life begins and ends. In the ‘bigger picture’ of my life, I have nowhere to turn but to God. I can’t make sense of why my friend’s son took his life, the despair he must have been feeling and now, the pain with which his parents have to bear. Who can make sense of any of that?  Certainly not I and I don’t think any of my friends would be able to explain it either. But, where there is no answer, there is always an answer. And it starts with God and the love of His son, Jesus Christ. Let’s go back to the scripture I opened with.  

Now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 

1st Corinthians 13:13

When Paul wrote his first letter to the Corinthians, he was doing so to try and address the problems of Christian life and faith that the people of the church were experiencing.  I find it interesting to note that the city of Corinth was, at that time, a great cosmopolitan city with thriving commerce, a prideful culture, widespread immorality and multiple religions.  Hmmm, sound familiar?  Maybe history does repeat itself?  

I have commented before in several of my blogs about how young people in America are struggling. Even before the pandemic, dealing with anxiety, depression, loneliness, it is no surprise that suicide is now the second leading cause of death amongst adolescents in America. Maybe this explains why 1,200 students at Yale University signed up for a class in Fall 2018 on of all things, “How to Find Happiness.”  

But Paul gives us the answer in just 15 words and he begins where each of us need to begin – with FAITH. We need to understand and accept that in this life we are not the ones in control. Our belief in self-reliance is a myth (Proverbs 3:5, 6). We need to come to the realization that this is God’s world and as hard as it is to understand, God loves each and every one of us just the way we are. Now, he’d love for each of us to have a heart like Jesus, but He knew that would never be the case. And so, He sent his son, Jesus Christ, to live out the example for us!  In fact, Jesus loved us so much that he died on the cross so that we might have everlasting life. When we make the choice to live by faith and not by sight, something truly miraculous happens – we find HOPE! 

No matter what the circumstances, no matter how far down you may be – there can  always be HOPE; a kind of hope that says no matter what you may be dealing with in your life, tomorrow always holds the promise and the potential to be even better than today. In life, what more can one ask for? And as I think about the darkness that I woke up to today, I already see the glimmer of hope, the truth that despite the pain and anguish my friend is now living through, he will once again see a day when he will smile and laugh; when he will rejoice and be so very grateful for the many blessings he has experienced in his own life. God will comfort him and lead him to that place. Knowing that my friend is indeed a “man of faith”, I have no doubt that God will give him HOPE.  

And, yes, it gets even better. For out of the choice to have Faith comes the gift of Hope, and in a totally inexplicable way, when we have Hope we find our ability to LOVE. As Jesus commanded us in the 2nd great commandment, “LOVE your neighbors as you love yourself” Matthew 22:39. In these most challenging times, just imagine how different our world would be if each and every one of us practiced this commandment with every person we encounter every day?  As a dear friend said to me just yesterday, “Can’t we just love one another and not be so focused on what makes us all different?”  Think about it. When you consider that we are all created in the image of God, that we are all of one humanity, all loved children of God, can we not just love one another?  Isn’t that what God was telling us to do when Paul wrote in his first letter to the Corinthians?    

Now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 

1st Corinthians 13:13

Today, find a way to love someone. Whoever, wherever, maybe even a total stranger (pull down your mask and smile at them!); but go the extra mile and find a way to love someone. These are tough times for all of us but God has given each and every one of us the strength to endure. Be strong. And yes, Be Brave!  Be Brave enough to do what Jesus commanded us to do… 

                                    Love your neighbor as you love yourself. 

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Harold “Bud” Boughton is a husband, father and grandfather who is a former senior executive, published author and professional speaker. He currently works for Shine.FM radio (88.3 FM - Indianapolis), a community-supported, not-for-profit Christian radio station affiliated with Olivet Nazarene University. Often referred to as “the teaching coach,” he is the Team Chaplain for the Franklin College football team and is also actively involved as a certified official with USA Hockey and US Lacrosse.

You can reach Bud Boughton by calling 317-258-6372 or click here to leave him a message