One bright morning several years ago, I hurried around the kitchen with a baby on my hip while the three older kids ate their breakfast discussing their backyard plans for the day, when the phone rang.
I picked up the phone and heard my husband’s much too controlled voice say, “Well, I had my appointment with the liver specialist today.”
“And?” I replied cautiously quickly growing concerned.
“The good news is that I am in a really great place for a liver transplant. The bad news is that I may need one,” he said way too casually. “I have Alpha 1 Antitrypsin Deficiency which causes non-alcoholics cirrhosis and non-smoker’s emphysema. The doctor said it looks like I am in the beginning stages of cirrhosis. My lungs may be affected as well.”
He was 30 years old.
My mind would not process what he was saying and everything went into slow motion. We had just regained our footing after a series of devastating events, including having a stillborn daughter. Numb, I went through the rest of my day. It would be six weeks of testing and waiting for results before we would know what exactly what we were dealing with. I had seen God walk us through many things, but with this news I was doubting God’s trustworthiness.
That day began a six week process of God repositioning my hope. I had my hope all wrapped up in the wrong things. When our hope is dependent on our circumstances, we will not be anchored when difficulties come.
During those six weeks, I would sense Him asking at all hours of the day and even in the middle of the night, “Am I enough?” At first, my honest answer was, “No. No, You are not at all.” I knew the church answer, but church answers weren’t working. I knew if God were asking, He already knew the answer, and it was pointless to give the ‘right’ one.
After a couple of weeks, I opened my heart a tiny bit in response to the constant question, and with what little trust I had at the time, I said, “You’re not, but I want you to be.” I, at least, was open to the possibility that somehow God could be enough even in the unthinkable possibility of losing John or going through very difficult health issues.
God began to shift my hope from having a healthy family to Him. He reminded me of the things He had walked us through, and how He had filled every empty place. By the end of the sixth week, I was able to say with confidence, “You are enough,” even though I still didn’t know what the future held. Thankfully and miraculously, there has been no progression of the disease in seven years.
In those six weeks, the Father gave me a beautiful gift. The gift of repositioned hope. My fear of losing John that I had struggled with since the day we married strangely went away and was replaced with a trust in the One Who is good and kind. He does indeed hold my life. It may not always look like I was hoping it would, and it may hold some unexpected and painful twists, but He will never leave. His comfort can match my greatest despair. In the world we live in,that is comforting. Hope in Him brings joy and peace in difficult circumstances. I’ve seen it in countless beautiful lives around me.
He is the immovable, unshakable God who is altogether dependable. We may not understand all of the things happening in our lives or some of the losses we experience, but He sees all from beginning to end and can make something beautiful out of the ashes.
There are so many things that we put our hope in other than Him, and He is constantly wanting to show us those places, so our hope is not in the temporary, but is truly and fully in Him. As we give Him those places, we find ourselves more and more free.
What are you finding your hope in today?
Word of the Day: 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)
Father, I give You my situation and all of my fears. Thank You that You know the beginning and end of this story -- both my story and the larger story that You are writing. Help me to trust in You. I chose to put my hope in You. Please show me what that looks like in the situation I am facing right now. I know that You are good, and that You are the author of My life.
Author: Wendy Gerdes