I hope your Thanksgiving was a day blessed by the love of family and friends. We have so much to be thankful for, and every reason to praise!.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1 – NKJV
As my fingers tap the keyboard today, I find myself sitting squarely between the full tummy of Thanksgiving and the first Sunday of Advent. This year, only two days separate the season of Thanksgiving and Christmas. While that abbreviated timeline adds some stress to our holiday preparations, I am thinking that from a spiritual standpoint, it makes a lot of sense. After all, the first Sunday of Advent is the Sunday of hope. Isn’t there a beautiful connection between our prayers of thankfulness and our declaration of hope?
Pause and ponder that for a moment… prayers of thanksgiving, words of praise closely intertwined with the promise of hope. Yes, surely there is some spiritual symmetry there.
Praise and promise, these are the building blocks of our faith. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1, NKJV). Faith is built on the promise. Faith stands on the hope. Where there is hope, there is thankfulness. Where there is thankfulness, there is room for praise.
I have been thinking a lot lately about faith, sight, and hope, words brought to mind by someone I greatly admire. For those of you who attended my November 13th Book Launch Celebration or may have watched the posted video, you will know that my dear friend Margaret surprised me with a video message from Jennifer Rothschild. For those of you not familiar with Jennifer, she is a best selling Christian author, eloquent speaker, and talented vocalist, pianist, and songwriter. She also has retinitis Pigmentosa, the same retinal degenerative disease that I have. Jennifer lost most of her vision during her college years, yet she forged a full life with a powerful ministry and a loving family.
My forever friend Kim introduced me to Jennifer eighteen years ago, when she excitedly shared about a video Bible study CalleD “Walking By Faith.” That video series was life changing for me. I could empathize with Jennifer’s struggles over her visual decline, and I took courage from her victories over fear, loss, and despair. Jennifer’s unwavering hope inspired hope in me.
Several years after completing her inspirational Bible study, Kim and I were able to meet Jennifer at a Women Of Faith conference in Charlotte, NC. Not only did I get to hear her powerful message, but I was able to speak to her and her devoted husband in the book signing line. I will never forget the words Jennifer shared when she clutched my hand in greeting, “Keep walking by faith, Anita, Keep walking by faith.”
Fast forward fifteen years to find Jennifer repeating those same words to me once again, this time via video, this time as part of a celebration of my new book, “Rough Places Smooth.” It was a powerful moment for me, reminding me of how far I had come on this journey through blindness. When I had heard Jennifer’s encouraging words the first time, I had not fully embraced the reality of my impending blindness. That face-to-face moment with Jennifer had been a turning point for me, a turning point toward acceptance and peace.
It was so incredible to hear Jennifer repeating the refrain from so many years ago. Yet, it was her next words that stole my attention. “One day our faith is gonna be sight.” I have thought about that statement for days, reflectingG thatIt has multiple meanings. For Jennifer and me, it means that one day our diseased eyes will no longer hinder us. We will receive our healing on the other side of eternity. But it is so much more than that. One day, our faith will be sight. One day, we will see Jesus. One day, we will know the bliss of heaven. One day, we will leave behind the pain and the problems, and know only peace and joy. One day, Jennifer’s faith will become sight. So will mine, and friends, so will yours.
Faith is believing what we cannot see, but what we know to be true. Faith is standing on the promises of God. Faith is clinging to hope, even when our problems persist. Faith is trusting God through it all, believing that He is good, and that He can, and He will work ALL things together for good. Faith is a thankful heart full of praise even when life is hard, even when our prayers aren’t answered the way we want.
Yes, faith clings to the promise and lifts up the praise. Faith sees beyond what is yet unseen, and rejoices in all that is to come, and there is so much more yet to come. Surely that, dear friends, gives us every reason for hope!
Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.
Hebrews 10:23 – NLT
O Lord God Almighty, we praise Your Holy Name. Your gifts to us are gracious, Your promises so true. In You, Lord Jesus,we find our hope, the hope of heaven, the promise of eternal life. Today, we know problems. Today, we know pain. But one day, the tears of our troubles will be wiped away. One day, our faith will be sight.O Glorious Day! O Glorious Hope!
In the Triumphant Name of Jesus, we give thanks and praise,