Hope and Faith

Hope and faith are twin virtues that are gifted to each Christian believer at the time of their new birth. Given in small measure, like newborn babies, they need to be nurtured to grow and thrive.

In the Bible, although hope and faith are used together, they are not the same.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”Heb 11:1 KJV

Faith is equated to something tangible and substantial. Biblical hope, distinctly different from faith, is not wishful thinking. It is instead a sense of certainty, an eager expectation.

It is tempting as artists to resort to despair if we are plagued by guilt about the passage of time. Time management experts can stoke our sense of helplessness if days pass and we are unable to be engaged in creative pursuits. Lost time spent in mundane daily activities is sometimes unavoidable. Sadly there is also the time lost due to rebellion, or circumstances beyond our control. You may have lost time because of harsh circumstances - the loss of loved ones, tough financial times, crazy schedules leaving you with little time to create etc… Even the best time managers must own up to time that often slips away despite the most thorough planning.

 I have often yearned to do so much while feeling the sting of accomplishing so little. Time seemed to be flying by at breakneck speed, yet seemed to be standing still for me. I am sure that some of you have felt the same impatience and regret.

Does that disqualify you or set you back from fulfilling your purpose as an artist in His service?

Most definitely not!

As Christians we are heirs of a redemption that should affect every area of our lives. Hope and faith is the currency for that redemption.

Invest hope and faith in God’s Word and you will be astounded at what He can do that you were powerless to effect.  The Bible makes the following wonderful promise which is in the past tense. The work has already been done by Him. We need only rejoice in it and trust that it will be beautiful!

"He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.

I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives,

and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor—it is the gift of God." Ecc 3: 11-13 NKJV

Like a sculptor fashioning a work of art, God promises to redeem everything - including our lost time. He works with our weaknesses and our passions, our failures and our hard work, our rebellion as well as our apathy.

All the twists an turns of our lives, if yielded to Him, He will use as raw material to create something beautiful in its time. While He works, our sense of the temporal is replaced with a deep, intuitive understanding of the eternal. That too is a beautiful process.

His work is mysterious and unfathomable and we ought not to trust our assessment of it. Occasionally we may comprehend some aspect of it. But whether we do or not, the work goes on.

Watching a sculptor at work can be a similarly confusing experience for one who is not an artist. Clay is slapped on and everything looks misshapen. Spaces are gouged out, and tools cut, carve, press, punch, squeeze and slice. Nothing makes much sense to the viewer (which is why demonstrations are such a crowd-pleaser at many art events!)

Trusting God’s promise that He is at work is sufficient for our present. A monumental sculpture reveals little as it waits for its unveiling. It is an ungainly form under the drape. But when the curtain is finally pulled off the sculpture, it will take our breath away with its beauty.

I am certain that we too, in the fullness of time, will be overwhelmed at God’s creative use of all our messes to create His masterful work of art.

So today, instead of despairing about the past, invest the precious currency of hope and faith in His many promises.

“Forget the former things:
Do not dwell on the past
See, I am doing a new thing!
Do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the desert
And streams in the wasteland”
Is 43:18,19

Don’t you get the feeling from reading the passage above that God delights in proving His ability to work out the impossible?

The only thing that could possibly hinder our experiencing this for ourselves, is disregarding the dual currency of hope and faith.

Friend, don’t dwell on the past, instead reach in hope and faith for an incredible future with Him.

Time Management for the Artist.