The Hope of Belief
“Catch me Granny!” Have you ever walked into a room, and you see your child or your grandchild running up the middle of the dining room table, leaping, without hesitation, into mid-air and calling out with uninhibited confidence “catch me!” You gotta’ catch that kid.
The image we have selected to accompany this article beautifully captures in pictorial form what the hope of belief is. So, wander with me through the next few paragraphs as we explore this leap of faith and the hope of belief a little further.
Why does the child take such a leap and yell “catch me”? You will notice the child doesn’t stand there and contemplate the principles of gravity or calculate the possibility that the spontaneous leap could be met with an unpleasant, jarring thud on the solid surface below if the person they are jumping to doesn’t catch them. So, why do they leap and call “catch me”?
Firstly, the child trusts in the person who is catching them. The relationship is safe and sure. They know the person as genuine, true, reliable and able to catch them. Their confidence is based on the consistent character of the person they are leaping toward.
Hebrews 11 outlines the basis of our faith that builds a solid foundation of belief and generates confident hope. It is not a blind, unfounded faith. It is anchored in the authentic, faultless character of God and the relationship He establishes with His children. The story of God in relationship with His people shows us who God is and His faithfulness to “catch us” in all areas of our lives. The hope of belief is never a leap in the dark but is rooted in God. As Augustine says “So by fixing our hope up above, we have set it like an anchor on firm ground, able to hold against any of the stormy waves of this world, not by our own strength but by that of the one in whom this anchor of our hope has been fixed. Having caused us to hope, after all, He will not disappoint us, but will in due course give us the reality in exchange for the hope.”
Hope is birthed because of who God is and becomes a living hope when we “leap” by faith into the faithful arms of our God who never fails to catch us. We know and believe who God is and appropriate hope through faith and belief. The child leaps because they know and believe in the person who is catching them, and their hope has a firm foundation in the context of a secure and dependable relationship that is undergirded by the promise to be their strong tower and to catch them when they jump. From the perspective of the one who is doing the catching, their heart is always set on catching the child no matter what. I’ve never once not caught my grandchildren when they leap. I dare not and sometimes it costs me, but I can never afford for it to cost them. I believe that God is like that with us. He would never dare not to catch us because it would be against His true character.
Secondly, when a child jumps and calls “catch me”, it is about the focus of the child when they leap. Their belief in the adult fuels their hope and trust of being caught. The eyes of the child, as seen in this image above are locked on the eyes of the father. It is the same when my grandchildren leap. They fix their eyes on me; on my eyes, eyeball to eyeball with the one they hope in. Nothing is distracting or deterring the child from jumping. They are not doing a lateral sweep of what surrounds them or scanning the potential dangers. The child leaps with laser like focus on the one they believe will be there to catch them in that critical moment of action. Their hope is sure and comes from their belief in and their knowledge of the character and capability of their father or in my case their Granny. They are focused and unswerving in their gaze. That’s not because the child is good at focusing. It’s because the father or the person who is going to catch them creates in the child the ability to focus and the confidence to jump.
We live in a world where distractions are trying to grab us by the hand and lead us into an impoverished faith by averting our attention and undermining our confidence in God. We can be tempted to shift our gaze off the Father and on to our circumstances. But to “jump” in faith and hope is to believe in the Father and to set our attention on Him.
As we recall the grandest distraction of all time that took place in the Garden of Eden, we are reminded that we must keep our eyes always fixed on Jesus, with singular focus. If history has taught us anything, it is that only Jesus is worthy of our gaze and only Jesus is truly able to catch us in every circumstance of life. Hope comes when our belief is anchored in the truth that our Father who will never fail us will always spread His arms and catch us.
Finally, when my grandchildren leap off a table and call “catch me Granny”, and I do catch them, there are shrieks of joy and elation as they sit content in my arms and snuggle into that safe space, even if it only lasts a few seconds. Not only does this create a greater bond, but their confidence in me also grows and confirms their belief and shapes their hope that next time they want to jump I will catch them again. So it is with our heavenly Father, the more we leap to Him in faith and belief, the more our hope is fuelled and bursting with confidence that God is always who He says He is and will always do what He says He will do.
So, friends, the hope of belief is that we can leap to the Father in unwavering trust, not because we muster up the ability to jump but because the Father will always catch us when we do. That is the hope of belief.