The World According to Tiff Sniff

Meandering ponderings and wonderings on the state of things.


Faith, Hope and Love

Anyone who has ever been to a wedding probably is familiar with I Corinthians 13 by heart - you know, the "love" chapter. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast. It is not proud, it is not rude, it is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrong. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always endures.
For anyone who cares, I can only recite that because of a quasi-Caribbean VBS song from years ago. Yes, I can still sing it; no, not for you.

Anyway, the last verse of the chapter has been on my mind all day: And now, these three things remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.

I have heard many sermons over the years about exactly what that means. For example, while we are on earth, we have faith in God, therefore the hope of His salvation, and the comfort of His love. But when we get to heaven, our faith will be revealed as truth and our hope fulfilled, so they will disappear, but we will still have love. Makes sense.

I think the three concepts fit together in other ways, too, though. This comes from a great conversation at lunch today with a new friend, about our struggles with identity and self-worth. I've blogged before about my college friend with bulimia. Essentially, the only cure for the disease is to find and believe in your self worth. Watching her struggle with it, working through the issues for myself, trying to learn how to deal with the extreme suckiness life hands out, I realized that true and LASTING self worth only comes from one place - a realization that God looked into my life, long before He ever created me, and still loved me enough to create me to sin, and then to die in my place. Wow. Nothing can ever take that away.

So today my new friend and I were discussing how we'd come to the realization that we are worth what we are not because we have overcome our imperfections, but because we just are here. And that our frailties, far from detracting from us, make us a part of who we are. Learning to accept those things, even if we don't like them, and to like ourselves overall anyway. She and I have walked a very similar path to get to that point.

It's hard not to compare yourself to others, but that doesn't make it any more right. So forgive me as I do a little comparing. We have another friend who is walking through the fire right now, dealing with whether or not she is going to learn to like who she is, or whether she is going to continue to fight against herself. It struck me that part of what I have learned is that faith and hope come in small steps.

For example: today I represented a man in child support court who owes $80,000 in back payments. Yes, you read that right. That's more than I owed when I graduated from law school. He was incredibly distressed, and had a hard time communicating with me, because all he could see was the number. (For the record, TN allows a parent or child to seek support payments until the child's 21st birthday. Like it or not, it's the law, and the mother had waited until the kid was 17, which led to the high number.)

Finally, I was able to break it down for him and show him that, yes, while he owed a lot, he didn't have to pay it all off at once. No one expected him to come up with that money today. But he does have to pay it off a few dollars a week. Actually, at $100 a week. Once he realized what that was, that he could easily do that, he calmed down and we were able to work out an arrangement.

Sometimes we have to just jump into our faith and let it take over. The first step in any hard thing is to have faith that you can handle it. Faith in yourself, faith in God to be with you, faith in your friends and family to stand beside you through it.

Hope takes over once you start the journey. Hope comes to us a little at a time. Break it down, and you realize you can handle small bits of life. One payment at a time. So take life that way, and you begin to hope that life can be a wonderful thing, that nothing is keeping you from being happy and content.

And then love comes in, and you realize that love has got you to where you are, and that there is more love waiting in the next part.

And the cycle begins again with the next step.

I think that you can't untie the three. Faith gives us hope, which enables us better to love, which strengthens our faith. Love is the greatest of these because it is love that we give to others; faith and hope we can only have for ourselves. But by spreading love, we can show others how to find the other two.

5 Responses to “Faith, Hope and Love”

  1. # Anonymous Melody

    I'm glad I read your blog tonight. You know how often I do that. You are an amazing woman. I love you!  

  2. # Anonymous Anonymous

    Tiffany,
    You are such an encouragement to me. I have been anonymously been reading your blog over the last couple of months and have been blessed by it. You, Trainer, and I (the little red-head) took German together with Dr. Goss at Harding. I live in Memphis now and work for a computer company. Anyway, keep writing - I love to read it. One of these days I'll get enough guts to create my own blog.  

  3. # Blogger Tiffany

    Stephanie?!?!?

    Awesome! I hope you do get a blog - I'd love to hear all about what you're doing now.

    And thanks for your sweet comment!  

  4. # Blogger Michael

    Tiffany,

    Sometimes before our worship service on Thursday nights, a group of us prays that night for the truth to pierce our hearts during worship. Let me just say that your truth here pierced my heart today, hitting me between the eyes where I live and reside. Bless you so much for sharing this...

    You are awesome!
    Michael  

  5. # Blogger Clarissa

    Next week don't walk off until I introduce you to my friends as the donut-wielding attorney.

    I will come back and read your blog post when I get a chance. I always do. I just don't usually have time to comment the way I'd like ... thoughtfully, intelligently, wittily ... wait, someone's screaming my name, I'm coming, I'm coming, aargh ... thank you sooooooo much for babysitting night!!!!!!  

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