And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13
During a conversation with Elizabeth, I said, “One of my favorite things I learned at DTS…” which, to be honest, I say about almost everything. If I’m thinking about it, it’s my favorite! Anyway, during this particular conversation, I said, “You know that verse about faith, hope, and love, but love is like, the best of them all?”
“The greatest of these is love?” Elizabeth asked.
“Yes, thank you. I promise I went to seminary.”
What Dr. Kreider did was explain why love would be better than faith or hope. I used to think that it was a hierarchy, and that hope and faith just weren’t as important as love. But then I studied counseling, and my opinion of hope, at least, has skyrocketed. Human beings can endure just about anything if they have something to hope for. But when hope is taken away? That’s when life stops being worth living.
So I don’t think that love is better than hope. (I haven’t really had a personal experience that skyrocketed my value of faith, but I trust that it’s not worse than love.) Here’s what I think this verse is really getting at.
Faith is trusting in something we do not see. Eventually we will see it, and faith will no longer be necessary.
Hope is looking forward to something we do not yet have. Eventually we will have it, and hope will no longer be necessary.
Faith and hope are temporary necessities in our world of pain and brokenness. Love, on the other hand, exists now and will exist forever. The greatest of these is love, because love is eternal.