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Making the Faith/Hope Connection

You have hope in your life, expectations, desires, a feeling of confidence in what you intend for your life. You know where you want your hope to lead you. But what is the path that you will need to create to continue your journey? What is the connection from hope to faith, and faithful living?

Going back to Hebrews 11 we discover some clues. After gathering the evidence of Abel, Abraham and Sarah's faith, we are reminded that they died before the promises made to them were actually manifested, "But having seen it and greeted it from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth," they did understand and name their legacy to us. "For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland." Their legacy is twofold: we, as they, are stangers, resident aliens of the earth, but we still search for the home that is truly ours as God's people.

These strangers and exiles did some pretty odd and terrifying things. Abraham was ready to sacrifice his son; Moses gave up the good life to lead and seek justice for his people; Sarah was the original Oldest Woman Gives Birth. The people who followed Moses through the Red Sea took a huge risk leaving Egypt and potentially drowning during their escape. Rahab welcomed spies, but saved her own life. All strangers and exiles who took risks by going along with a God of uncommon sense who said, "Here I am, follow me." In following God they were heading for home. In following God, they were already at home. If hope is expectation, desire and a sense of confidence, then faith is being at home with God in our actions as we move toward home with God.

Have you ever moved out of a house you really loved? I have, more than once, and each time I have been reminded that a house is not a home because we carry home with us. It still takes believing that I can make that happen successfully every time I open the door to the new house for the first time. This new, empty void has nothing to do with home, until I set my foot on the threshold and my keys on the kitchen counter. And this is where life begins, and continues. I know what to do to set up a house, but it is the living that will make it a home.

Living is the path between our hopes, expetations, desires and feelings of confidence, and faith. Not just living, but living as strangers, always setting up home in a land that says you should not leave what most people cling to as home. Home is not the same routine over and over, although we are frequently comforted by routine. Home is not running away when standing still is harder. Home is not making choices for your life because other people feel they are right and you feel they are wrong. Home is living the room that god opens up in your life to choose what appears to lack every bit of common sense imaginable. Living that room is what creates our lives, and what bridges the assurances of hope and faith. When we bridge the gap, we are no longer strangers or exiles. we are, as the old hymn reminds us, "No more a stranger or a guest, but like a child at home."

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