Never Give Up Hope

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (I Peter 1:3)

Hope - that four-letter word has been on my mind a lot these days, especially since the return of severe pain in July and my mom’s terminal cancer diagnosis in August. Sometimes when I stop to think about my mom I just break down and cry as I wrestle with the reality of her condition and the universal truth that we will all one day die, and along the path to that ultimate destiny we will all experience pain and suffering. I honestly don’t know how people who don’t know Jesus manage this life (and recent news stories about the explosion in suicide rates would seem to suggest that many are not dealing well with the sometimes cruel, harsh realities of this present age).

Knowing the Lord doesn’t give us a “Get Out of Jail Free” card when it comes to sorrow and suffering in this life, but it does give us one (among many) priceless treasure - that four-letter word hope. When it feels as though life has abandoned us on a cold, lifeless world, hope is the very oxygen we breathe as we “fix our eyes upon Jesus” and “press on towards the goal.” Today’s devotional from Our Daily Bread is titled “Never Give Up Hope” - the author starts by sharing the story of a close friend’s terminal cancer diagnosis:

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I shared her urgent prayer request with our mutual friends. We rejoiced when a second doctor encouraged her to never give up hope and confirmed his team would do all they could to help. Though some days were harder than others, she focused on God instead of the odds stacked against her. She never gave up.

That’s pretty much what my mom has done too - she isn’t ignoring the reality of the situation, but she is also doubling-down on hope, pursuing Christ like never before and gathering with her team of prayer warriors regularly to lay her burdens down at the foot of the cross. The news has not been easy to hear - the cancer continues to grow in her left lung and my mom is now starting to deal with pain - but the abiding love of Jesus has filled her heart with peace and courage. It gives me strength and encouragement as I deal with my own decade-long struggle with chronic pain, anxiety and depression.

The author of today’s devotional leaves us with these wise and encouraging words:

We may experience pain that feels endless, situations that appear hopeless, or waiting that seems unbearable. We may endure moments when the odds against us are stacked high and wide. We may not experience the healing we long for as we continue trusting Christ. But even then, Jesus invites us to keep reaching for Him, to trust Him and never give up hope, and to believe He is always able, always trustworthy, and always within reach.