Faith, hope, and love. He is stuck on hope, the middle one, which is more active and comprehensible than faith. Can we have hope without faith? Probably not, because without faith, hope just floats about as a capricious whim.
Love is the easiest to grasp. I love my family, my home, and my upcoming trip to Italy. But love without faith is also capricious, depending on how other people, material possessions, and situations effect me at a given moment. It is easy to grasp moments of hope and love when things are going well. But what about those times of distress, when they are overpowered by despair and fear?
I want to tell my friend that if he pursues faith, hope and unconditional love will follow. But I can’t tell him how, other than to suggest what I and others have found helpful. The best I can do is listen to him and pray for him. Pray for God’s light and peace to shine on, through, and with him, whatever that might mean to him. I don’t know the details of his situation; in fact they can get in the way of my prayer. Let go, let God, is enough.