Growing up, I often heard my father say, “Keep your faith strong and your hopes high!”
As a little girl, I didn’t quite understand what this expression meant, but I always loved to hear him say it. As an adult, I came to understand how important it was to “keep my faith strong and my hopes high” as the disappointments and challenges of life started to roll in like waves from the sea.
Living without faith and hope is a certain recipe for disaster. However, there are so many people walking through life without faith or hope. These individuals often aren’t sure what or who they believe in. They have experienced so much heartache and disappointment that they protect themselves by claiming to not believe in anything.
At the same time, some of us have hope — but the hope is misplaced. We have hope in our careers, our bank accounts and in our relationships. We hope in things that can change or disappear as swiftly as the wind.
What does a life without faith and hope look like? It can look like:
- A woman overdosing on heroin in front of her 3-year-old daughter
- A man stabbing a woman to death
- A 14-year-old committing suicide
These are extreme examples of individuals living without a solid foundation of faith and hope. However, in each instance the individual was unable to see past his or her current circumstances to a brighter, better tomorrow. They did not have faith in something bigger than themselves, or have hope that life would get better.
I encountered all three of these circumstances in less than one week. Needless to say, my heart was overwhelmed and disturbed by the number of people hurting and living in agonizing pain that we didn’t recognize and couldn’t relieve. My heart was heavy because of their lack of hope.
Then my mind wandered to my dad’s quote, and I found reassurance: Keep your faith strong and your hopes high. I remembered a Scripture from Psalm 25 that soothed my heart: “No one whose hope is in You will ever be put to shame.” That is what my Dad was teaching us.
He was teaching us to put our hope in the Lord and to trust that he knows the plans he has for us. We have to keep our faith strong by staying close to him. For God, the solid rock is the only foundation in this life that never changes, never fails and never leaves us — no matter what. My faith in God keeps me strong and it gives me a reason to have high hopes — no matter what I am experiencing in life.
I realize we may believe differently. I realize this is not a faith-based paper and I am making strong comments on my own beliefs. And that is OK. Sometimes in life you can’t hold back what you believe just because someone believes differently. Perhaps if we shared more about the good news of Jesus Christ, more people could “keep their faith strong and their hopes high.”
Article by Natalie Rudd, who is on the ministerial staff at Antioch Baptist Church, 8869 Cedar Ave., in the Fairfax neighborhood.