By Arch Hoercher
Is there any hope? I just lost my job. I just got divorced. The doctor just told me that I have cancer? Do I have any hope at all? My children and grandchildren moved far away. My best friend is no longer my best friend. My husband just passed away. I am so alone. What hope do I have? Is God out there somewhere? Does God hear my prayers? God, are you ignoring me?
Where are you God? All my hope is gone!
If you ask the world for help, you will not receive much. We live in a world intent on crushing every bit of optimism that we might have. There is an answer to this question of hope. It is in the person of Jesus Christ. In fact, hope is one of His middle names, along with love, mercy, and grace to name a few.
My wife, Brenda, was diagnosed with cancer back in December of 2017. I know this for sure, cancer is a hard road to travel on. It is a very rocky road with frequent pot holes. It takes the wind out of you sails. Cancer is a physical disease but the biggest fight is a spiritual one. Satan will attack you when you are at your weakest. He will fill your head and spirit with doubt and fear. There is nothing Satan likes more than to have someone question their relationship with God. Asking if God really cares. He wants you to think that God is a busy guy. Why should God waste His time on you. Satan wants to suck the joy and hope and trust you might have in God right out of you. Because, if you are a Christian and you have no joy or hope or trust in God, you would be an ineffective witness.
God wants you to have joy and hope and trust, no matter what is happening in your life. The first scripture to look at is John 3:16. A very familiar scripture to most Christians. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him should not parish but have everlasting life.” But one might say, “I am such an insignificant speck in the world.” But to make this scripture more correct for the individual, it could say: For God so loved you that He gave His one and only Son that if you would believe in Him you will live for ever and ever and never die. In other words, if you believe in Jesus Christ of the Bible you have absolutely nothing to worry about of this world. Not sickness or poverty or being alone or even death, because your future is secure in His promise of “everlasting life”. God wants believers in Jesus Christ to be full of hope as well as joy and trust.
Revelation 21:4 (NIV), “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” God is referring to His people. Those who believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, who died on a tree in our place,
and who rose from the dead on the 3rd day. God does not want us to be without hope.
Job 11:18 (NIV) reads, “You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety.” God does not want you to be without hope. In Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, ‘declares the Lord’, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” God has a plan for you. His plans for you were set before time began. Because God has a specific plan for you, you should not be without hope. One little tidbit of truth from scripture. One must first trust God. It is in our trusting God that hope arises. You might not think you are in the spot that God wants you to be, but you need to know that God knows exactly where you are. Even when you believe that God is somewhere on the other side of the galaxy doing something very important, He is not concerned about you and your petty problems. But I guarantee you that He has never left your side. Scripture tells us that He will never forsake or leave us. We must believe that and trust in that. Because out of trusting God grows our hope in His promises.
Now for an example of how God works and why we should continue to trust in the hope that He gives us. The last PET scan that my wife, Brenda, received was interpreted that the lymphoma was still there. Her oncologist was in the process of arranging additional treatment and radiation therapy and getting insurance approval for a stem cell transplant. We were at a very low point in our emotions and our spirit. We had so hoped and prayed that the cancer was gone. Now we are looking at additional treatment that could impact our lives for another two years. One thing that happened because of this situation is that her oncologist referred her to a different oncologist who specialized in advanced lymphoma, immune therapy, and stem cell transplant for a consult. This is a physician that was familiar with Brenda’s case and who had visited her while she was in the hospital. Our appointment was on July 16th , 2018. We were under the impression that we would be visiting the first time with the nurse practitioner. We had been waiting some time in an examination room. There was a knock on the door and in walks the doctor, not the nurse practitioner. That was a surprise. She begins her conversation with us with, “I am not sure how I should tell you this, but….” So here we are now expecting the absolute worse news possible, but instead we get – “I have reviewed your lab work and your PET scans and your bone marrow biopsy. It is my opinion that you are cancer free and that you are in total remission. The spot showing on the PET scan that was thought to be lymphoma is from the area that you had that serious cellulitis. It is an area of inflammation and scar tissue. You never had disease there from the beginning. Your bone marrow shows no disease and normal cell growth. And the lab test that is indicative of leukemia has been well in the normal range for two months. So, you do not need that IV port any longer. Let’s schedule a time to get that out.”
So we went from the sub-basement with our hope wavering to the top of the mountain praising God in less than a minute. From what kind of cancer treatment is she going to have to endure to cancer free and no treatment in a minute. What I am trying to say with this example of wavering hope, is that we should never stop trusting God and giving up hope. His ways or not our ways. He does things the way He wishes to do them, not in the way we may wish it to be done. Brenda and I both see now that God never left us. He was always there doing the things that He does. Things that are beyond our understanding. I do not know what you may be going through and where you might be in your journey, but I do know this without a doubt. Never give up on God, because He will never give up on you.
One last scripture of encouragement: Philippians 3:20-21 (NIV): “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body.”