Dear Holy, what is the difference between faith and hope?

I always ask the Holy: what photos do you want to use to illustrate what you’re trying to say?.

One of the things I like best about this seventy five day spiritual exploration is that each day the Heart prompts what might be explored.

When it was time to write yesterday’s post the Holy giggled. It seemed to want light, ordinary. It desired ease and effortlessness. Memories, blogging, grill, Christmas, Doublemint gum, old-time song. Trying to write a spiritual essay felt impossible, wrong, no-no-no.

Yesterday afternoon I wondered about today’s post. What is the next assignment? What do you want me to explore now?

Sometimes the answer doesn’t come right away. Sometimes I have to wait until the typing fingers caress the keys. Then I watch the words appear and think, “Oh yes, that’s today’s reflection.”

But yesterday Spirit answered immediately.

“Faith,” Spirit said with an unexpected thought. “Let’s talk about faith.”

All yesterday and this morning I’ve pondered faith. Contemplated it with a fresh eye, as if I knew nothing about faith at all.

At first I asked: What, dear Holy, is the difference between faith and hope?

Google answered first, because the Holy uses Google too. (Google can be an expression of the Holy, yes?)

Hope is an optimistic attitude of mind based on an expectation or desire.

We can hope this pandemic ends soon. We might hope 2021 eases any collective fears. We hope for world peace, for the dissolving of seemingly irreconciled views between loved ones, for friends, family and self to remain happy, healthy and well. We might even hope for enough money. For a thousand and one things in this world.

We often pray with our hopes. I want this, we murmur, oh please dear God, dear Holy Heart, dear Great Spirit, dear Higher Self.

Sometimes our prayers are desperate on-our-knees cries of hope. Save us, save him, save her, save me, save what’s near and dear to this heart. Ease this living. Bring a miracle, please. Bring balm for our aching, our pain, our suffering. Human beings whisper words calling hope from the furthest corners of the earth.

Sometimes hope is a soft smile on the lips, a calm in the belly, a ship in the storm.

There is a time and season for hope, is there not?

So what is faith? asks a beginner’s mind going back to this rising moment.

Faith is confidence or trust in a person, thing or belief not based on proof, Google says. Faith says it is so now. Hope says it could happen in the future.

What is faith in the Holy Heart?

I look inside and ask deeply. Ask and wait for an answer beyond Google. Ask for an answer in this very moment.

The first thought that arises: I have faith that there’s something bigger than Kathy. Bigger than you and me. Bigger than this broken and beautiful world. An awareness, a consciousness, that envelops and circles and loves the ordinary expressions and miraculous of the Universe.

That there is something more than rational thought, tumultuous emotions, hopes, worries, concerns, pine trees, family, laughter, tears, mistletoe, Santas and Snowmen on a checker board.

You might call this something God. Or Higher Self. Or Spirit. Or Universe. It’s an umbrella of consciousness that overlays the seemingly separate individual.

Over and over again–countless times–I’ve connected with this something. It’s as true and real as anything materialized in physical form.

Yet it’s invisible.

It can only be reached by faith, and if you try to grasp it, it seemingly dissolves and disappears.

It’s completely empty and simultaneously full.

In the 90’s and early 2000’s I seemed to live and breath on faith alone, and what a wonderful thing it was! I used to say, “It’s all perfect!” and some folks would fuss and fume about that statement pointing out that it’s obviously not perfect, just look at the world, you idiot. I remember responding, “But it’s perfect in its imperfection.”

Yet, faith’s a funny thing, and we can sometimes lose connection to its stabilizing rock. When Spirit led me into the valley of unconscious and repressed human emotions I found myself floundering. The years of unquestioned faith were once again replaced with a sense of being a separate alone human being who had to do everything on her own.

That’s the opposite of faith, isn’t it? The sense that we’re alone in a separate human body. That WE have to do it all. That WE have to make it work. That WE have to somehow keep ourselves and our loved ones alive and healthy and sane. We think it’s US.

Tuning in to faith

The Holy Heart sees everything from the widest view possible. Perhaps the widest view is love. It does not fear anything. It does not shun death. It sees death as another beautiful opportunity for a different kind of awareness. It does not see separateness the way we humans often do. It sees interconnectedness. It sees life, light, joy! In a way that does not push away death, dark, sadness.

Faith, for me, is this remembrance once again. Oh yes. The Holy is running this show. The Holy is in charge. I am but an expression of this heart. What looks dark and dismal and just plain wrong and painful–even that, too, can be welcomed and met with love. Not a love that says it’s “right” or “wrong”, not a love that blindly accepts without responsive action, but a love that’s so compassionate that it doesn’t hide under a rock, doesn’t push away, doesn’t cringe from the sore ache of it.

There’s a surrender to what’s-happening-now instead of resistance. Instead of fighting the moment we can lay down our struggles in the arms of this holy mother/father and be cradled, like a newborn babe in a manger.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for this reminder about faith, oh Holy!

And dear reader, please let the Holy speak through you, and share your own knowing of what faith means to you. And how it’s steering and comforting you through these challenging times.

–Day 60–Only fifteen to go!–

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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35 Responses to Dear Holy, what is the difference between faith and hope?

  1. jeffstroud says:

    A quote from 2013 popped up this morning, one that was so timely and reassuring for me this morning.
    “Life is not asking us to curl up into a ball because we are scared; it is asking us to step up even thought we are scared and to welcome new possibility by taking a risk.” Mastin Kipp

    As I struggle with life situations which I felt I had no control of, fear, drama, a desire to run away, let someone else take care of this stuff. It was a reaction to a financial fear, the roof over my head, yet deep within me once I took time to breathe, step away, did some research which was frustrating in itself, yet it was action. I said the Serenity Prayer, I let go, I hold on again, I let go. Over and over throughout the day…
    Faith and hope was sought. To do what is right in front of me to do, while looking to the future when this has passed.

    • Kathy says:

      Jeff, you are really going through a rough time right now with all your life situations. It sounds like you are feeling all the emotions, yet moving forward into action. Living the Serenity Prayer. May hope and faith sustain you…. ((hugs)) Lotsa hugs!

  2. debyemm says:

    I found my self saying much the same to my husband this morning about the difference between religion and spirituality. I said someone recently compared religion to crowd control. I already knew my husband actually appreciated religion for that same reason even though he isn’t religious himself.

    Then, I said spirituality isn’t that. It is seeing a bigger picture. I mentioned that is what I do in my WordPress blog of Daily Essays – Gazing in the Mirror. I look at everything that is this life from a spiritual perspective.

    Yes, I agree, there actually is something bigger going on. (Certainly, that doesn’t surprise you, Kathy. LOL)

    I once went through a period when I couldn’t say the word God. Now it doesn’t matter to me anymore what term someone uses. I asked IT then in contemplation – because I did believe there IS something bigger than “me”, what to call it – the Holy as you refer to it said – ME. Then, I thought – of course – ME/me. Eventually, I came to call my creator Mie. My creator is my direct link to the All That Is Holy, my soul would work as a concept too – that eternal idea that gave birth to this life and because I believe in reincarnation – the lives before this one and the lives that will come in the future.

    Faith is knowing that it all works out without a reason in the world to believe it.

    • Kathy says:

      It doesn’t surprise me at all either, Deb, lol! I think you’ve created a wonderful “bigger picture” blog in your Gazing in the Mirror. Interesting that you and your husband had this conversation today. Like you I went through a phase where I didn’t like the word God. And now I like it–a lot. For a long time it was “Great Spirit”. Then it was “the Universe”. Sometimes it’s “spirit”. Listening to folks calling it “Allah” or “The Beloved”. I like “Presence” too. How unique that you call it Mie–so cool! And to be able to relax into faith and know that it works out–without requiring belief–is deep spiritual maturity, I think.

  3. Stacy says:

    Well put – faith as a surrender to what is happening now. *sigh* It’s really hard to do that. But I will keep the faith that I won’t lose my faith. XOXO

  4. leelah saachi says:

    “Faith says it is so now. Hope says it could happen in the future.”
    Yes, faith – I think about the Angel cards from Findhorn ( love to play Game of Transformation from Findhorn) – Faith is two angels in a Trapeze: I know you will catch me
    My faith is in almost every moment these days – everything happens not to me but through me – all my bizarre dreams turn out to present me with exactly what I need to forgive and bless. And what supports my faith is an overwhelming amount of synchronicities – I think many of us here notices them.
    The bestest thing maybe – even when I feel fragile or supertired: I ENJOY my life and trust it – it rains and I have no raincoat but the air is fresh and people smile at me behind the masks ( that is a blessing for sure)

    • Kathy says:

      That’s cool, Leelah–two angels in a trapeze, I know you will catch me. A perfect illustration of faith. It’s a good point that synchronicities support faith, they kind of work hand in hand, don’t they? Loving your wide open heart!

  5. Sarah Davis says:

    I have to think about this; faith and trust are so intertwined for me. I have faith and trust in the Divine. I ask for guidance and protection each day, have faith that my prayer has been heard and trust that I will receive both. Hope is down the road. I hope it will be warm and dry on Christmas. I cast my hope and then try to release my attachment to an exact form. Is hope also prayer?

    • Kathy says:

      Ahh, trust! Thank you, Sarah, the word “trust” didn’t come up when I wrote this. But it’s so true, faith and trust are kind of hand-in-hand. Casting our hope is also a beautiful way to express this, especially when releasing our attachment. I think (just musing) that hope can be a prayer. It can be a way of setting an intention. This is what I would like (I as an emanation of the Holy). I am not sure of the exact relationship between hope and faith, but in my life both happen. Maybe the Holy carries us as we hope, but eventually, slowly, we learn to lean more into faith. I don’t think God prefers one over the other because He can work through both, but there’s an evolvement toward surrendering more and more into the heart. Maybe?

  6. To me, hope is a wish – probably stronger – make that a sincere wish. Faith is much stronger – a trust – a confident trust. Below is something I wrote in my past about faith.

    Faith is a complex, yet bold and loving trust about God, God’s grace, and God’s creation that changes our heart, thoughts, and actions. Faith is not proof and does not require proof. It is through this gift from God, the unconditional trust of faith, that Christians place themselves into the hands of God for care, comfort, reassurance, strength, and protection.

    “Faith is also the trust Christians place in God for the positive future when God reveals himself to us in eternal life. “Faith responds to God’s Word. Faith recognizes that God is gracious. Faith believes. Faith trusts. Faith invites the risen Jesus Christ into one’s soul. Faith acts in love. Faith seeks understanding.” (Dr. Ted Peters)

    Perhaps this summarizes faith. “Whereas science uses the senses to tell us information about life in our physical world, “faith tells us what the senses do not.” (Blaise Pascal, 17th century)

  7. Robin says:

    I’ve been pondering faith a lot this year. I see it as a process, or at least as a process for some of us. A surrender to not knowing. ♥

    • Kathy says:

      It’s totally a process, Robin, I believe. A road of surrender into faith. So many differing degrees. I was noticing it all yesterday–the many ways I cling to hope (and that’s OK) because I’m not ready to take the ultimate leap deeper into faith.

  8. Lori says:

    You really got me thinking today. Faith is something like the cliche, let go and let God? Faith is the Serenity Prayer, knowing what is in our control, and what we must leave in God’s hands?

    Instead of begging God for something I want, I always start prayers with a thank you. “Thank you God for sending angels of protection. Thank you for your presence within and around me and those I love. Thank you for guiding and comforting my sick mom” and on and on. Maybe faith is also asking as if it has already been given?

    Thank you God, for giving Kathy the patience with me and my polar opposite political opinion, and for her grace in liking me anyway. 😉

    • Kathy says:

      I like that you mentioned the Serenity Prayer, Lori. Have thought about writing about it this season, but it hasn’t happened yet. My mom has found a lot of comfort with this prayer this year. And I think it does have something to do with faith. I’ve been experimenting with affirmations of gratitude or knowing first. Noticing when I go to hope or begging for something. The begging usually comes when I’m scared, which isn’t too often.

      Do you think your mom would like a Christmas card? I could send one to her tomorrow if you think that would mean something to her. If not, please say so–my mom isn’t keen on getting cards from people she doesn’t know. We are all so different, aren’t we?

      And, Lori, you have taught me so much and helped ease me through some challenges with other polar opposite political opinions, so I am very grateful for you, too.

      • Lori says:

        Thank you for your offer to send my mom another card. I do think she would enjoy getting one, so send one one off if you feel the call.

        I appreciate that you and I work on trying to look past political differences, which is what so many people do not do these days.

        Thank you again for the offer for my mom. I’m glad your mom has been finding comfort in the Serenity Prayer. Everything is so much harder on our parents.

  9. sbwheeler says:

    I “hope” I don’t cause confusion with this reply, but whilst Google may carry the Holy, it also carries much that merely reflects mankind’s search for the Holy. There are three great Christian Virtues: Faith, Hope and Charity. None of these has just an “ordinary” meaning; each also has a spiritual significance. Faith, for example, is not just the blind trust of ordinary existence but conveys the possibility of real “knowing”: of being so much “one with” something that its inner workings are made manifest. Hope, likewise, conveys the possibility of real courage to go into the unknown; to go beyond even Faith. And Charity is also Caritas: the universal love that arises from knowing that all life is one in spirit, even if at times we cannot see that.

    • Kathy says:

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts about hope and faith. And I especially liked learning that charity is universal love that arises from knowing that all life is one in spirit. Beautiful!

  10. Loving this series of posts and so glad you’re doing this.

Thank you for reading. May you be blessed in your life...may you find joy in the simple things...

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