It begins with:
And then it goes on to talk about the faith of Abel and Enoch and Noah and Abraham and more; How they did this by faith and that by faith. All the way down to the last verse of the chapter, which says:
These guys had faith, hope, and expectations… But the writer of Hebrews said that none of them got what they were promised.
Powerful, two minute reads that have helped change the script in thousands of people's lives.
SIDE NOTE: I am lumping faith, hope, and expectation in the same basket. Even though they aren’t exactly all the same thing, they are intrinsically connected. Roll with it, cool? Back to the devotion.
Jeremiah 29:11 says that God has a future and a hope for his people. The word ‘hope' used by the writer of Jeremiah is the Hebrew word “Tiqvah,” which means ‘to expect and wait for a particular outcome.' For the ancient Hebrews, words had meanings, but so did the letters that made up that word, and those meanings were connected. Tiqvah (pronounced tik-vaw), is made up of the characters Tav, Qoph, Vav, Ha. Their definitions:
Tav: the total sum of truth and perfection.
Qoph: holiness and growth cycle.
Vav: to add completion and redemption.
Ha: to reveal life and light, through the breath inside of you.
Maybe these men and women listed in Hebrews as great heroes of faith didn’t get what they thought they were promised. Maybe they still experienced defeat and disappointment and heartache and failure. Maybe things didn’t physically turn out the way they expected them to. But maybe, through their experiences, they found truth tucked into the corners. Perhaps they came across holiness and growth. Even though the going was difficult, maybe they discovered redemption and completion. And through it all, the thing they learned to expect the most was the life and light of The Christ (or as the mystics and desert fathers would say: The Christos), breathing in and through them no matter what.
Because that's what hope does. It takes us beyond the physical expectations that we dream up in our minds and teaches us that in the unexpected we can still expect Divine Presence. Faith is our handle on what we can’t see.
It’s knowing that the ocean heals, that mountain air purifies, that love is the foundation and nucleus of all life. We can’t see it, but it's something that we know.
“God comes into the world in always-surprising ways so that the sincere seeker will always find, and those on lazy cruise control will find nothing. Is sincere seeking perhaps the real meaning of walking in darkness and faith?” (Richard Rohr, Evidence, Huffington Post.)
The search for truth, love, and God are the same search. You may not find what you expect, but you can indeed expect to find.
Written by Liz Milani