- Mental Health
Hope vs Faith
Both hope and faith are qualities that help us get through life. When we face difficulties they help us overcome them by giving us strength. But what is the difference between hope and faith and which of these two is better to have? Many think that hope and faith are both the same or at the least quite similar. But there are lots of differences between the two. Hope and faith can never coexist. A person can either have hope or faith but not both. It may seem impossible to differentiate them but as we start to dig deeper, the differences become pretty clear.
Now let us begin with a story about the Pandora’s Box. According to Greek mythology, there was a titan called Prometheus who favored the humans. Since he wanted the humans to live well he stole the gift of fire and presented it to them. However, Zeus, the supreme God was infuriated by this act. So he sought a way to seek revenge on Prometheus and the humans.
Zeus created Pandora who was the first woman and presented her as a bride to Epimetheus who was the brother of Prometheus. Prometheus knew that Zeus was plotting against him and so asked his brother to not accept the gift. But it was already too late as Epimetheus was mesmerized by his new bride. Zeus also gave them a gift. It was a sealed box and Zeus warned them to not open it at any cost.
This box was the means for Zeus to take his final revenge on the humans. We also see that this is similar to how Eve took a bite of the forbidden fruit and faced God's wrath. Curiosity got the better of Pandora and one day when Epimetheus was away she opened the box presented by Zeus to take a peek into the contents. But as she opened the box, ghostly forms began to emerge out of the box and escaped into the world.
The ghostly represented all kinds of evil, illness, and suffering that we find today. Life from that day onwards would be a struggle for humans. But as Pandora watched in despair as all these evils became unleashed there was one last form that emerged in the end. The last form that came out of the box was not evil but it was this last thing that has helped us overcome all our challenges and trials. This amazing quality that was unleashed from Pandora's box is what we now call as “Hope”.
From Despair to Hope:
Mankind through so many years of wars, epidemics, and famine. It is this "Hope" that has sustained us all and given as a purpose of living. Life is never a bed of roses and even if it was so, it is full of thorns that prick us every step of the way. Each and every person has had his share of problems and suffering. With so much pain and suffering, it is easy to give up. But a person who has hope will find some reason to move on.
Hope is not a magic genie who grants all our wishes and makes our life heavenly. Hope is actually a comforter. It is a place of refuge, a sanctuary for the ones on the brink of defeat. The true warmth of hope cannot be felt by the ones who have never faced any real suffering. A person who is successful and healthy doesn’t need to worry about anything. A little bit of inspiration and perseverance is enough for those facing minor issues.
Hope serves a much higher purpose. It lies dormant in a person’s heart and comes to the surface only during the time of need. When everything seems lost, hope helps a person to get back on his feet again. You can break a person’s confidence, his self-esteem, and his will but as long as he has hope he will never be completely lost.
For a person lost in a cave, it is the thin ray of light which acts as the hope he needs to drag himself out. The world is our cave and the darkness surrounding us is sorrow, despair, failure, illness, and frustration. We need the ray of hope to guide us through any gauntlet.
A person who has hope will have the will to survive but the person who has faith can thrive.
So far we have seen the qualities of hope and why it is important. Let us now find out about faith. Although hope and faith are different qualities, they do have some similarities. For example, faith also comes to light only in times of dire need. But there is a major difference between them.
People hope for things to happen and this is their own thought. But people put their faith in someone else. This might be oneself, a friend or in most cases God. Hope is not dependent on anyone and it exists independently. Faith has its roots in God or the person in whom we put our trust in.
Due to this simple fact, the person with faith can find peace. He is sure that God will take care of his problems. Since he has trusted in God he no longer has to worry about his fate. A person who has hope will definitely have the will to survive but the person who has faith can thrive in any hostile environment.
I heard an interesting story which was mentioned in the movie, "facing the giants". This perfectly explains the power of faith. “There was a village which was undergoing a drought. Two farmers who were present in that particular region turned to God for help. Both of them prayed for rain but only one of them went to his field and prepared it for planting.”
This story is more than enough to capture the beauty of a person's faith. Both the farmers pray for rain but neither of them are given any assurance of the rain. The farmer who prepared his fields after praying has complete faith in God. He doesn't worry about what will happen if it doesn't rain. He lays all his burden on God and stops worrying about future uncertainties.
There might not be a single cloud in the sky. Yet the farmer who has complete faith is unfazed. The other farmer hopes to get rain but he is uncertain about the result. However, a faithful person has no doubts in his mind. He does not have any doubts and is confident.
Faith cannot be quantified and is binary. You can either have faith or not. If your faith falters even a little then all is lost. Therefore it becomes very difficult to have complete faith and trust. Anyone can be hopeful but to have complete trust in God is an entirely different matter. Praying for rain is a common thing everyone does, but having the confidence to bring along an umbrella is what sets people apart. This is why I had mentioned that hope and faith cannot coexist. We do not hope for the impossible but with faith there is no limit to your desires.
Hope gives us comfort and helps us move on with our life. Faith, however, gives us joy and promises us eternal happiness. A man of faith will never feel let down, he will not be burdened by sorrow and he will always find a reason to stay happy. There may be cases where our faith goes in vain as well. But we need to have a mindset that the best days of our lives are in the future. It is ultimately our choice on whether we power our lives with hope or faith. We can either hope for the best or have faith that we will definitely be successful in life.
Which of the two do you think is better?
© 2017 Sudhir