Friday, October 18, 2013

Abiding Faith, Hope and Love

"For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:12–13, NASB95)

Frank and Cathy Lee (Newlyweds in 1954)
This afternoon another dear friend went home to be with the Lord, just days after her and her husband’s 59th wedding anniversary. They knew this day was coming with her cancer, but they didn’t know exactly which day it would be. And all of the days leading up to this one and even that very moment, were ones knowing the reality of living in bodies that were fading in face of the realization of glory to come. For her the wait is over, but for her dear husband the wait has become more intense as she is no longer walking by his side. In this, the grief for him and even the sense of aloneness are very real and pressing.

In 1 Corinthians, quoted above, Paul wrote about a day when we would be able to see clearly and face to face what we see only dimly at the present time. This is the stark distinction that the grave makes in our lives; the distinction between living by faith with hope and that of knowing fully. It likely for this reason that we read in 1 Corinthians 13:13 that for now there are faith, hope, and love present in our lives. But Paul went on to add that the greatest of these is love.

As we step back and think about the three (faith, hope, love), love is the only one of these that exists both sides of the grave. One day we won’t have to walk by faith, because we will be there and we will see. We won’t have to live in hope because our hope will be fully realized. It is the love of God that endures forever.  Our God loved us before He created us. He loved us in our rebellion. His Son loved us on the cross. His love has been shown repeatedly to all generations, and His steadfast love indeed endures forever as we see repeatedly declared in Psalm 136 and is the unwavering testimony of the entirety of Scripture.

A Psalm of David. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalm 23, ESV)

Today in “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young (10/18)

Go gently through this day, keeping your eyes on Me. I will open up the way before you, as you take steps of trust along your path. Sometimes the way before you appears to be blocked. If you focus on the obstacle or search for a way around it, you will probably go off course. Instead, focus on Me, the Shepherd who is leading you along your life-journey. Before you know it, the “obstacle” will be behind you and you hardly know how you passed through it.

That is the secret of success in My kingdom. Although you remain aware of the visible world around you, your primary awareness is of Me. When the road before you looks rocky, you can trust Me to get you through that rough patch. My presence enables you to face each day with confidence.

“I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.” (John 10:14–15, NASB95)

“The way of the righteous is smooth; O Upright One, make the path of the righteous level.” (Isaiah 26:7, NASB95)

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