In the world in which we live we are subject to the relentlessness of evils. Certain groups are trying to destroy and rewrite history to suit their agendas. Others are manipulating fear for power. Some are attempting to bring society to its knees through the imposition of certain social constructs to create a socio-political system that they believe is superior, but which has been tried and tested and has ultimately failed every time. But in these times of chaos, we must remember that there are good things within our world, within our own hearts, that we can use for the betterment of society if we can harness them.
At times like these, and in times where I find an incredible thing has happened to me, I recall an inspiring Bible verse. Of the 31,102 verses in the Bible, which some may call Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth (pretty cool acronym, right?), my personal favourite is 1 Corinthians 13:6-8 and 13. It goes as follows:
Verses 6-8: “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.”
Verse 13: “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
What I love about these verses is that they demonstrate the powerful nature of love. They show that, despite all else in the world, everything that is evil, everything that tries to cause despair and destruction, love persists.
Verses 6-8 are particularly relevant in current times. In the modern world, truth is often obfuscated or hidden. People would rather live in the comfort of lies than open their eyes to the truth and awake to the realities of the world. People in power do all they can to prevent the truth from getting out if it does not benefit them. If a lie is viewed as more favourable, they will choose the lie. But as we hear, we will only find love in truth. That is why truth is so important, and why, even when the odds are against us, we must continue to speak truth to power.
Verses 6-8 also relate to our world today in that in recent times we have borne witness to certain groups of people who are engaging in modern day “book-burning”, whereby statues of historical figures are being pulled down, and books like the Bible itself burnt alongside flags. The people who perpetrate these horrendous attacks on human history do so because they are clearly looking for a clear path to repeat its most grievous mistakes, its worst evils. Yet knowledge only passes away when those who contain it within their memories do. If that knowledge has been shared beforehand, it can live on. But, as we all know, everything ends someday.
But Verse 13 is the greatest one of all. It is truly the most powerful. In a nutshell, it tells us while everything else may disappear, three incredible things will endure: faith, hope, and love. These three are interconnected in such a way that they form what I call the trinity of the heart. I call it this because I view all three as residing within our hearts. Each has a powerful role to play in our lives and can be the difference between living a happy and fulfilled life or living a life of chaos. It all comes down to how you implicate them into your life.
Faith is our belief, our trust. We often find ourselves putting our faith in others who we trust to do right by us. We may ask them to do something for us in the belief that they will do so. In the same vein, we may entrust a friend or family member with a secret in the confidence that they will not break our trust. Faith is linked very closely with hope, in that when we put faith in another person, we hope that they will come through for us. But just like we can put our faith in other people, we can also put our faith in God. We can trust that He is there looking out for us. He often works in mysterious ways. At times we may feel as if He has left us to fend for ourselves. These may be times of great hardship for us, times when we do not understand why something is happening. Yet while we may feel this way, He might just be nudging us in another direction, maybe onto a different path.
Before we move onto hope, I just want to share how this has affected my life. I have discussed this somewhat in a few previous posts, but I think it fits in quite well here. For many years, I knew I was headed down one particular path, which involved writing. At the beginning of 2019, I thought I was headed in a direction where I would go to a physical University, complete a degree over the course of three years, and then go into a career that involved writing in some capacity. But just a month and a half before I was due to start, I went through a challenging time which resulted in my anxiety returning stronger than before. That and a general dislike for the course at UTS put me on a different path. At the time, I didn’t really see what was happening in that sense. But I ended up choosing to study online with Griffith Uni, which would allow me to also teach Scripture each week at my old primary school. And despite further challenges like fluctuations in my anxiety and COVID-19 keeping us all isolated and putting a hold on Scripture, I managed to persist and get through the tough times. But here is the kicker, I didn’t come to realise this until around just under six weeks ago. You know, sometimes things happen that seem so random, but are just incredible. They give you this sense of clarity that allows you to understand why things happened the way they did. This happened to me almost six weeks ago. It was truly liberating. Meeting new people can have such an impact on your life. COVID-19 may have created a world of chaos, but from the chaos came a ray of hope. I truly believe that God gave me a nudge last year and put me on a different path because it would lead me to some of the best things in my life. And for that, I am truly grateful.
Hope is what we long for. It is both something we can gain and something we can lose. At times, we may feel down, like things are not going the way we hoped they would. Indeed, they may have gone in the opposite direction of what you were hoping. At times like these, we may reach a point where we feel like giving up. Yet there may still be a small spark of hope alive within our hearts. And in time, sometimes when we least expect it, that spark can catch alight, and that hope transforms into a flame, burning bright within us. Sometimes, it may take time for that spark to ignite. If we put our faith in God, that He might bring that spark to life, we can trust that He will do so in His time, and His timing is perfect. Sometimes it takes a little faith and love to kindle the flame of hope. To have hope is a wonderful thing, because without it, we can easily fall victim to depression and misery, and that is no way to live our lives.
Love is powerful. It can make us, or indeed break us. Love has the power to change lives. It has the power to bring people together, to create a bond between people that is like no other, unbreakable. That is why love is the greatest of the three. It brings us great joy in our lives, a happiness unlike any other. In some instances, the euphorically powerful nature of love can be overwhelming, but in a good way. And just like the love in our own hearts, God’s love for us is truly incredible. In fact, God loves us so much that He sent his only Son, Jesus Christ, to be sacrificed for us so that we could experience an eternal love in the Kingdom of Heaven. This is intrinsic to the nature of love itself, because with love comes sacrifice.
Sometimes we have to make sacrifices of our own for love and the betterment of ourselves as human beings. Sometimes this may even mean allowing a part of us to die so that a new part can rise up and take its place. In the same vein, we may come to a realization that allows us to push past something that was holding us back. Moments like these can be freeing. They can provide a reflective window to the past to allow us to see that there was a reason behind events that took place. At the time, it may have been difficult to make sense of such things, but at this point, it all comes together in one incredible epiphanic moment.
Before, I referred to faith, hope and love as the “trinity of the heart”. Now that we have been through all of them, it should be evident as to why. All three of these incredible parts of humanity come straight from the heart. They are enkindled within it. The heart is like a fireplace where the three come alive. Hope is the spark and the flame, faith is the kindling, and love is the warmth it provides. While the world around us may fall victim to chaos, faith, hope, and love are the key to restoring order. They have the power to bring about positive change, and never fail to inspire.
And so, I’d like to finish this one with a poem I wrote:
Faith, Hope and Love,
The trinity of the Heart,
Three things that have been with us
From the very start.
In times of great joy,
And even in despair,
Where a spark of hope endures,
These three will be there.
When order turns to chaos,
And we are not sure what to do,
Turn unto this trinity,
Have faith and peace will ensue.
And although time will march on,
And things may fall apart,
These three will transcend,
Faith Hope and Love, The trinity of the Heart.