Hope is defined as a feeling of expectation or desire for a certain thing to happen; a feeling of trust. How do we as feeble humans in a fallen world grasp hold of hope, and why is hope so vital to our lives and wellbeing?
One article explored the connection between hope and both physical and mental health. In a health crisis, one contributor said, “belief and expectation-two mental states associated with hope-have an impact on the nervous system. It then sets off a chain reaction which makes improvement and recovery more likely.” The same article also proposed that “hope may buffer us from stress, anxiety, and the effects of negative life events.” (CNN Health/ Amanda Enayati/April 11, 2013)
You may ask how a person can have hope during a difficult season in life. Let me share my sister’s story. In July of 1998, my thirty-one-year-old sister, Tracey, was diagnosed with stage-four ovarian cancer. Her prognosis was not good. She opted for surgery and one round of chemotherapy, but a second-look surgery showed that cancer had already traveled to her lymph nodes. Without a miracle, that truth placed a decided end date on her life.
Many of the patients that she was diagnosed with died within the first six months, but Tracey lived on. Her optimism was so strong that she was often asked by the medical staff to visit other patients when she came in for her treatments. She incorporated a healthy lifestyle, but her number one contributor in beating the statistics was her hope. She had hope in the God Who could heal her and hope in the thousands of people who were praying for her. She never received a miracle of healing, but she did receive a miracle of more time with her husband and young children. Three and a half years after her diagnosis, she passed into the arms of Jesus.
How could my sister practice hope during those three plus years? If I simply say “God,” would you be surprised? Probably not. Our world is broken. Our planet is disease ridden, but hope comes directly from the Source of hope, God Himself.
Romans 15:13 declares this: “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.”
God Himself is the Source of hope. He IS hope. He fills us with His joy and peace. He makes us to abound in hope. And He does all of this through the work of the Spirit in our lives. Yes, my sister found her hope to live three extra years from God. The family she left behind has hope of being reunited with her again in heaven one day. This hope is not mustered up but born in us through the work of God in our lives.
Do you know this hope?