Growing in Faith, Hope, and Love
By Nick Will
Verses To Read:
“Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love— and the greatest of these is love.”
Everyone’s journey to faith is different. For much of my life, faith has been more of a convenience – praying when I needed something – but not so much a moment-by- moment walk with God. I have always believed in God, but to truly make my relationship with Him a priority on a consistent basis hasn’t been my reality until the last few years. Growth in my life – in faith, hope, and love – has come from a combination of events that have taken place in my family’s life – both hills and valleys — combined with finding a church family (The Hills!) that has challenged me to open my heart, mind, and spirit to God.
Jesus teaches in Matthew 10:37 to prioritize God above family. Making your spouse or other family member second in priority to God may seem like you are neglecting those important relationships, but the opposite is actually true. When we follow God’s plan for our lives as shown through the Bible, we actually increase our capacity to be more attentive, humble, caring, giving, and loving toward our family members. Likewise, God often uses family members to bring us closer to Him.
My wife, Jenna, spent several weeks in the hospital off and on in 2023 with an unknown illness. We appreciated and felt all the prayers we received. Thank you, Hills Church family! And, thanks to God, she is on the right path of recovery now. God does not promise a pain free life, but He does promise to be there to comfort us during those difficult moments.
Love is not just a feeling but a choice that requires effort. Through all of Jenna’s testing and illness, our marriage and faith in God have also been tested. Many nights of staying at the Deaconess “Health Spa” (as we called it) were some of the hardest, yet most faith- building and rewarding times. Being able to spend extra one-on-one time with Jenna was a blessing. Being able to pray with her and for her, to care for her, and to hold her hand during those tough days was a great time to grow closer to God but also a unique opportunity to grow closer to each other. It was difficult seeing her in pain. It was frustrating seeing her go through all the tests and not having answers for so long. She may also claim that there were a few long nights when sleep was at a premium due to blood tests and ‘occasional’ snoring from me!
This trial for us was a small snippet of time in the grand scheme of our lives together, but it has resulted in our faith, hope, and love being stronger than ever. God is my first priority, but Jenna is a beautiful woman and partner whom God used to grow the two of us closer to Him and make me a better man.
I encourage you to make God your first priority over everyone, including family and friends, but take some extra time during this season of fasting and dedicate it to your spouse, loved ones, and/or church community. Like my experience walking alongside Jenna during difficult times this last year, God can use your relationships with others to deepen your relationship with Him.
Questions To Consider:
1. Can you think of a difficult time in your life when God was with you?
2. Can you think of a difficult time in your life when you thought God was not with you, but later figured out He was?
3. How did you react? Take some time to write down your experience and what you learned about yourself and God.
Prayer to Pray:
Lord, I pray for the faith, hope, and love only you can truly supply. May I spread your good word each and every day with all of those you place on my heart and mind or in my path. May I do your good work while being humble and kind. Amen.