Faith, hope and love make life worth living. They are first things. Just as success, power and money are second things. Second things are only bad when the get out of order with first things. This perception of primacy and order is a common one as recorded through the centuries and so I am confident asserting its truth.
Faith, hope and love though essential cannot be forced. We cannot “work up” real faith any more then we can “work-up” real love. So how do we get them?
I think it works something like this.
Faith, hope and love involve a choice. If you think about the I Corinthians 13 list a bit you see that all the attributes of the list can be put in the context of a choice, choosing to be patient etc.
I believe what happens is there are times when God, in His mercy, frees us from the compulsion of our self centered lives, from the fruit of evil choices and gives us that moment of grace to see the true and the false, the wicked and the good and allows us to choose. In that moment we plant a seed.
We do not make that seed grow any more than the farmer makes his crop grow, but having made the choice we are provided the opportunity of subsequent choices to nourish or neglect what we have planted.
In the end we reap the fruit of our choices, faith hope and love or doubt despair and selfishness.
This idea of a journey or a progression, a series of events that develop richness of life or leave us destitute, is also common in literature and by extension to men.
What we need then, for those moments, is a reason, a signpost, a rubric to know which choice we want to make, because deciding beforehand makes the actual choice easier.
Snowflakes have a lot in common with humans. Each one is unique, just like every other one. Both snowflakes and people are fleeting occurrences, here today and gone in a moment.
The question is, are people of any more worth than snowflakes, do they have any value beyond their uniqueness? More meaning beside what they can do for us?
If there is a God in the universe, the consummate union of power and goodness, one who gives meaning to goodness, the answer must be yes. If there is no such being the answer, though less clear, must ultimately be no.
It should be no surprise then that those who come to the end of themselves, who look down the road ahead and see with clarity an empty hole, are prime candidates to begin their journey following the signposts in the other direction.
All that is required is the grace of a moment of choice and the willingness to choose life. God brings the increase.
“for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” Romans 10:10
“… so choose life in order that you may live…” Deuteronomy 30:19