Yesterday, I introduced hopelessness as the void of both imagination and memory - you can't dream of anything else, and you can't remember when you could. It's a heartbreaking situation, one that far too many fall into without even realizing, until it's too late.
Faith, however, offers us something here that we cannot ignore.
Faith is interesting because although it is enhanced by imagination and memory, it is not dependent on either. Faith requires only a willingness, and it is for this reason that faith is our way out of despair.
Faith doesn't require that you know or that you hope. It doesn't require that you trust. It doesn't even require that you believe. It simply requires that you are willing to believe, that you are willing to take a chance there is something out there, right now, to hold onto. You don't have to remember what God has done. You don't have to dream of what He might do. You only have to be willing to bet that He exists at all. Then reach out and hold onto that wisp of an idea.
It may not seem like a lot, but it's everything. This little bit of faith gives you something to hold onto when it feels like there isn't anything else. It gives you a place to put your feet down, something to wrap your hands around, something to set your sights on - whatever you need it to give you, it gives you. Just by your mere willingness to say it must be so. Beyond what you can see. Beyond what you can dream. Beyond what you can fathom. Even when it doesn't seem real. When you're willing to say there must be something to believe in, you change the landscape of your hopelessness. It's not void any more; there's something there. There's something tangibly there.
And the more you hold onto what's there, or what seems to be there, the more you're drawn into what's maybe always been there. The easier it becomes, after time, to remember. The more you remember, the more you dream. All of a sudden, faith has drawn you back into hope. Your memory, your imagination - they're back. They've been restored. Hopelessness fades into faith and disappears into hope. There becomes not only a way to hang on, but a way to hold out this hope and to move forward. There becomes a way to open your eyes and look around and see again. See something new, something old, something true, something real. It's all coming back to you.
From this hope springs something else: thankfulness. And from thankfulness, love. See, love is cool because it is the culmination of all of this. It's the biggest thing. That's not just beautiful prose. Faith, hope, and love - the greatest of these is love. It's true. Because faith gives you something small to hold onto when you need it most and hope gives you the eyes to see what's going on all around you. But love...love fills you up to this place of near-bursting and just starts to seep out of you and into everything you do, everything you say, everything you touch, every breath you take. Love saturates your life in a way that neither faith nor hope quite can, and yet, it must be formed in these other two - in willingness and in imagination - for it to be anything at all. And then...and then, love is everything.
In the blink of an eye, you've gone from nothing to everything, from void to fullness, from a lack of imagination to a depth of love. All because of a little thing called faith, which is the mere willingness we have to look into the void and dare to believe there's something out there to hold onto.