This is a four letter word that we all need in our lives. Hope is defined by The American Heritage Dictionary: "To entertain a wish for something with some expectation. To be confident; trust." When cancer comes bursting into our lives unexpectedly, the result can be a loss of hope if we let it. I remember feeling hopelessness start to take hold of my mind when we were facing some difficult times figuring out why Zach could not eat. It seemed no one could give us an answer and he kept getting worse. I felt God's presence loud and clear when a friend of mine brought me a book that reminded me God was with us, even in the dark times, and His promises are forever! I realized then, each day was a new day and it was a choice when our feet hit the floor if it would be a day filled with hope or hopelessness.
By placing our hope in the promise God gave us through His son Jesus, we can find joy in all things. A devotional from Billy Graham in Hope for Each Day explains it well:
"How often have you found what you were looking for in life, only to realize it didn't bring you the satisfaction you thought it would?
It is life's ultimate frustration - thinking we will find fulfillment in the things of this world. But they can never bring lasting happiness. As one bumper sticker I saw expressed it, 'All I want is a little more than I have now.'
We look for love, security, and happiness through our jobs, our possessions, our relationships - but if they really brought lasting joy, wouldn't we have testimonies to that effect from millions of people all over the world? Instead, we find emptiness, discontent and hopelessness.
Try putting Christ first and watch how your life is turned around. You will discover that He alone is the source of love, peace, and joy you have been searching for."
Facing a life threatening illness can certainly put priorities in line. We felt like a 2 x 4 had hit us in the head with the initial diagnosis for Zach, but immediately realized, the answer to our hope lay squarely in God's hands. Here are some scriptures that reference the hope that God promises to bring to each one of us who chooses to believe.
"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." Romans 15:13
"And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you." Psalm 39:7 The Lord himself is the source of hope because his character is unchanging, his love is steadfast, his promises will all come true, and his omnipotence determines your future.
Place your hope in God because..."God has given us both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can take new courage, for we can hold on to his promise with confidence. This confidence is like a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain of heaven into God's inner sanctuary." - Hebrews 6: 18-19
With hope comes patience for Gods perfect timing…"If you already have something, you don't need to hope for it. But if we look forward to something we don't have yet, we must wait patiently and confidently." - Romans 8:24-25
Strengthen your hope by reading God's Word often…"May all who fear you find in me a cause for joy, for I have put my hope in your word." - Psalm 119:74
"'I know the plans I have for you,' says the LORD. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you hope and a future.'" - Jeremiah 29:11
"Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And because God raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory, your faith and hope can be placed confidently in God." - 1 Peter 1:21
"But blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they go right on producing delicious fruit." - Jeremiah 17:7-8
"May our Lord Jesus Christ…who…gave us everlasting comfort and good hope, comfort your hearts and give you strength in every good thing you do and say." - Thessalonians 2:16-17
"When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer." - Psalm 119:50, 52
"Without wavering, let us hold tightly to the hope we say we have, for God can be trusted to keep his promise." - Hebrews 10:23
"Why am I discouraged? Why so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again - my Savior and my God!" - Psalm 42:5-6
"As so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My hope is in you." - Psalm 39:7
Hope is something that grows from our hearts. God gives us the promises to cling to in an uncertain world. These promises are what truly what helped our family get through many hard days, especially the promise of eternal life that he offers through His Son, Jesus Christ. Remember to find hope in each day - but be careful it is contagious!
To read Stacy's story, see her website at www.walkingvictorious.com.