At Lighthouse Family Retreat, we have four truths that guide our ministry to families living through childhood cancer: rest, joy, restoration, and hope. Leading up to our summer retreat season, we want to share the importance each of these plays in our lives, and how to overcome the obstacles and challenges to embracing them. Today on the blog, we’re talking about Hope.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him.”
Hope is one of the most powerful things we experience as humans, even if it is hard to define. Hope orients us towards the future, and shapes how we show up and live in the present. Almost as important as food and water, hope gives us strength and perseverance to confront the most significant challenges of our current reality. Hope is woven into the human spirit, and we are always searching for a place to put it.
Unfortunately, there are those in our world who live without hope. People without hope are usually easy to identify. They aren’t living life but enduring it. Each day isn’t a gift but another 24 hours they have to get through.
Then, there is a much larger part of the population who are living with misplaced hope. They have placed all their hope in their circumstances, in the people around them or in themselves. Not one of these is able to deliver on the hope we place in them 100% of the time. People with misplaced hope are often harder to recognize, but they are all around us. In fact, most of us wrestle with misplaced hope of some sort. The telltale evidence of someone with misplaced hope is disappointment. Eventually, misplaced hope leads to enough disappointment, which, over time, becomes a road to hopelessness.
But those who place their hope in God do so knowing that part of His character is taking that which was broken and redeeming it for His purposes. When we are confronted with hurt, pain, confusion, and evil, we can place our confidence and hope in a God who, from the beginning, has desired that we would experience life and life abundantly. And Who has not only promised to redeem the hurt and pain we experience but has demonstrated His faithfulness to this promise. In fact, the climax of God’s redemptive work is the defeat of death itself through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Those who place their trust in God live with the hope and confidence that, in the words of Tim Keller, “Everything sad is going to come untrue, and it will somehow be greater for having once been broken and lost.”
There are times in life when hope can be dimmed to a flicker or even seem to be extinguished. Hope may be a difficult topic to consider in the midst of a diagnosis of cancer and the unknown future. But, if we are willing to look hard enough, to look beyond the bleakness of our current circumstances, there is always hope to be found. Especially when we recognize that, almost by definition, hope is not something we can see. The author of Hebrews puts it this way, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”(Hebrews 11:1) In painful circumstances like an illness or loss of a loved one, to grieve with Christian hope is to believe and trust this too will be made right.
When do you find it hard to hold on to hope? When is it easy?