Faith and Hope with Love
Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Romans 12: 11-13
The New Year’s Day Holiday is unique among holidays because it celebrates the future as opposed to other holidays that commemorate an event in the past. Christmas, Easter, Independence Day and even Thanksgiving are all celebrations of a significant event in history. New Year’s Day celebrates HOPE – hope for happiness, peace, good health and success in the accomplishment of goals. This common sentiment is practically universal on the planet as people of all persuasions wish each other a Happy New Year. For the Apostle Paul, hope is one of the three essential qualities of a Christian together with faith and love. Faith and hope are actually interrelated. In Hebrews 11:1 we read: “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” The fact remains that faith cannot work without hope and neither can hope without faith.
There is no question that the New Year fills us with hope especially after a year like 2020. We are hopeful that the numerous vaccines against COVID-19 will finally get this pandemic under control and reestablish “normalcy” in our world. We hope that the people of Artsakh will be able to repair and rebuild their houses and workplaces and be able to live in security and peace. We hope that a lasting peace will finally arrive in Syria and Lebanon and the people will be able to make a living with valuable compensation and have access to their savings. This is what we hope and pray for as human beings, but God has His own plans which may be different from what we wish for. As difficult as it may be for us to understand, God’s plan is the best plan for us and by faith we will ultimately experience that.
In the meantime, we have work to do. It is not enough to make wish lists and resolutions on New Year’s Eve if we are not going to do our utmost to accomplish those goals. We must work hard to feed and clothe the orphans, the refugees and the destitute. We must work hard to keep our institutions of learning open in Armenia, the Middle East and the United States. We need to continue to be a lifeline to our summer camps and our churches worldwide where children learn about Jesus and the word of God is preached. This is where love gets into the picture because it is our love for our fellow human beings and our love for God that will propel us into action and help us accomplish our goals and bring to life what we have been hoping for.
So, let us not lose hope that God will deliver us from the pandemic, that He will bring back peace, harmony and security to Armenia and Artsakh and economic recovery to the Near East. Let us not forget to follow what the Apostle Paul has recommended in Romans 12 – ”Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”
With God’s help we will accomplish our mission.