October 2006

 

Hope to Carry On
A Journey of Faith, A Journey of Love

We all experience ups and downs as we trudge along through our daily lives. During some of our most intense trials, it is difficult to see a light amidst seemingly overwhelming darkness. Faith is our ability to believe in something without requiring visible outward signs, while hope is our ability to walk in faith with a positive attitude--it is the ability to experience happiness, joy and peace even when we have no concrete reason to.

Life is a journey of faith. Even trusted resources may not always speak the truth you know and believe, and you must walk alone, yet always knowing that you are unified with other believers in spirit, into the unknown territory that is before you, KNOWING that you will come out unharmed.

One moment it seems like everything is falling into place; prayers are being answered, and your life is moving in the direction that you have prayed for so dearly. The next instant, your hopes are met with discouragement as the outward circumstances tell you to "just give up", to "stop trying", that "nothing will change," and that there is "nothing that you can do about it." But faith is an enduring belief based on a foundational peace, knowing that you are following the Ultimate Truth and that what you are doing is objectively the right thing to do. Hope is the attitude of faith-- a persistent optimism that brings joy to the bleakest of hearts and gives light to the darkest of situations. We must walk by faith and live in hope.

God is Love. God is All There Is. Love is All There Is.

True love is not a feeling that one falls into or out of. It is not an emotion that you allow to guide your life like a cork in a windstorm. That is infatuation. That is lust. Those are base human desires which satisfy our greed and hunger for selfishness. No good ever comes from those things, even though that is the lie that the world promises us. Love is a choice, an action, a commitment to selflessly give of ourselves to achieve the highest good for the benefit of another. When we give of ourselves, even when it seems as though we have nothing left to give, it is then that we will receive the most.

God has an abundant life to offer us, full of love, joy, peace and happiness, if only we choose to live according to His/Her purpose. True contentment comes from knowing that we are living God's will for our lives. Conflict, guilt, anxiety and despair result when we ignore God's call and instead think that we somehow know better than the creator of the universe. How arrogant we can be when we are caught up in our own selfish thinking! Yet, it is precisely this attitude that we must overcome in order to find true and lasting peace in our lives. Our biggest obstacle to achieving all that we hope for is not an external influence beyond our control, but our biggest obstacle to achieving all that we hope for is ourselves.

We are told through the media and through our culture that we must indulge our desires in order to find happiness. We are told that "if we don't take care of ourselves, that no one else will"; and that, afterall, "we deserve to be happy!" We are told "if it feels good, do it!" Selfishness has become an expected and accepted attitude. This false notion often hurts others, and ultimately hurts ourselves.

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
Galatians 6:9

Although it may not make sense to us based on our cultural beliefs, the Bible still tells the truth when it comes to achieving happiness and success in life. And this truth is not relative. As St. Francis of Assisi stated, "It is in giving that we receive." We are called to give of ourselves, to honor marriage and family, to be upstanding people who do not use foul language, lie, cheat, steal, or engage in any form of sexual immorality. Yet, these are all commonplace in our culture. To act otherwise is to go against the grain. Yes, it has become unnatural to follow God's path. But we are not called to be of this world simply because we are in it. We are called to rise above the easy path, to use our moral compass to lead us and not follow blindly wherever our emotions lead us. Our culture tells us to "follow our heart," but feelings are fickle, unreliable and self-serving. We should be of one mind, one heart and one spirit--unified in our thinking and actions, living as people of integrity, holding to the standards to which God has called us. When we engage in behavior that we know is right, even if it doesn't always "feel good," we can have faith that we will have no regrets over our actions and that the good feelings for which we crave will follow those actions.

Happiness, joy, peace, contentment and love can be ours and is readily available to us just for the asking. If we live Godly lives, setting our hearts on the greater good, the gifts for which we seek will be ours. That is God's promise to us. It is a promise for which we patiently hope and unquestioningly believe. It is our faith.

Let us continue to hold firmly to the hope that we confess without wavering, for the one who made the promise is faithful.
Hebrews 10:23

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May/June 2002 - Featured Article - The Girl Who Knew Too Much November 1999 - Featured Article - Soulmates November 2000 - Featured Article - The Straight and Narrow Path: the way, the truth, and the life
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October 2006 - Featured Article - Hope to Carry On September 2000 - Featured Article - Unconditional Love September 2001 - Featured Article - Meditation on Meditation

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