Faith. Hope. Trust.
These are words that we are probably all familiar with. If I asked you to define them, what would you say? What if I asked you what the difference was between the three?
Do you trust God? Do you have faith in God? Do you hope in God? Are they the same thing? Are they different? Can you have one without the other?
Let’s start with definitions. Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines each as follows:
Faith: Belief; the assent of the mind to the truth of what is declared by another, resting on his authority and veracity, without other evidence; the judgment that what another states or testifies is the truth.
Faith is a belief in someone or something not based on any evidence or proof.
Hope: A desire of some good, accompanied with at least a slight expectation of obtaining it, or a belief that it is obtainable
Hope is a belief in the good of someone or something resulting in a positive outcome in the future.
Trust: Confidence; a reliance or resting of the mind on the integrity, veracity, justice, friendship or other sound principle of another person.
Trust is a belief in someone or something based on knowledge, instinct or experience
I have a world-renowned retinal specialist who has treated my eye disease for 15 years. His education, reputation, as well as my personal experiences with him leave me confident to say that I trust him.
On the other hand, recently I began to experience pain in my right foot. I went online and checked what podiatrist was on my insurance and close to home. I called and made an appointment. I have faith that he will be able to correctly identify the problem and get me up and walking again soon. At this point, I don’t trust him. How could I? I don’t even know him. If I had talked with a friend and she highly recommended him, maybe I could then trust him. But, the trust wouldn’t be like I have with my eye doctor who I’ve been seeing for 15 years.
I hope both doctors will be able to do what I have come asking them to. I have a confidence that good will result in the situation. If I wasn’t looking for a good outcome, I wouldn’t see either of them. Often hope in today’s culture is seen as wishing or wanting something good to happen without any reason for it to be true. Like if I said, “I hope my husband brings me flowers tonight,” when today isn’t our anniversary and there would be no reason to assume he would. What I really am saying is, “I wish my husband would bring me flowers tonight.”
How does all this translate to God?
Hebrews 11 is known as the Faith chapter. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
I can have faith in God based on what I’ve read in Scriptures. Faith is the starting point.
Trust takes it to the next level. Because of the relationship I have with Christ and the way I have personally seen Him work in my life I trust him. Over and over again I have seen God make my paths straight when I trusted in Him. Prov. 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
When the trials of this world become overwhelming, I have hope in what is to come. Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”