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Daily Devotional • January 2

Emily Hylden
Hope Is Harder
A Reading from Hebrews 11:1-12

1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval. 3 By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible.

4 By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain’s. Through this he received approval as righteous, God himself giving approval to his gifts; he died, but through his faith he still speaks. 5 By faith Enoch was taken so that he did not experience death, and “he was not found, because God had taken him.” For it was attested before he was taken away that “he had pleased God.” 6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would approach God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. 7 By faith Noah, warned by God about events as yet unseen, respected the warning and built an ark to save his household; by this he condemned the world and became an heir to the righteousness that is in accordance with faith.

8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to set out for a place that he was to receive as an inheritance, and he set out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he stayed for a time in the land he had been promised, as in a foreign land, living in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he looked forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 By faith, with Sarah’s involvement, he received power of procreation, even though he was too old, because he considered him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore from one person, and this one as good as dead, descendants were born, “as many as the stars of heaven and as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.”

I have a favorite saying about hope. I trot it out often when my anthropology gets too high. “It’s not the despair, I can handle the despair. It’s the hope I can’t stand.” 

My pessimistic nature prefers to rest in the certainty of despair rather than the vulnerability of hope. But the thing I often forget is that we never ever need (or ought!) to hope in people. Our hope is only, ever, always in God. That is faith — hoping and believing in God’s action and love.
It’s quite an order, putting our faith in these things unseen. We’re drawn again and again — just as our forebears were, recorded in today’s passage from Hebrews — to contend with Scripture’s assumption that there is more to this world than what we can see with our naked eyes. 

Can we trust that there is more to the world, that there is perhaps more to each of us, than meets the eye? How might we love one another well, keeping our hope and faith, however, in God alone?

The Rev. Emily R. Hylden resides with her priest husband and three sons in Lafayette, Louisiana. Find her podcasting at Emily Rose Meditations.

Daily Devotional Cycle of Prayer

Today we pray for:

Diocese of Louisiana
The Diocese of Ondo – The Church of Nigeria
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