I love the beginning of the school year. Fresh starts and new school supplies abound. Hope is in the air. I wish that hope was accompanied by cooler weather and the coloring of the leaves but alas I live in Vegas where it is 95 degrees at 8:00 in the morning and Palm trees and mesquite remain pretty much the same. Where there are three seasons-- pleasant, bearable, and Hell.
I wish too that I was starting fresh. That I was done with treatment and facing the excitement and hope that comes with new beginnings. But no, I'm still facing weekly chemotherapy with no end in sight. It seems like everybody else has something to look forward to -- a new baby, a trip, a new home. No, Hope in not in the air for me; I can't just breath it in as easily as I would take a breath. It is more elusive.
And yet, I still have hope because it is in Christ. Rom 5:4-5 says that perseverance develops character, character, hope. Hope is a matter of character that doesn't fluctuate due to circumstance. Hope isn't looking forward to events in your life, but a joy that looks forward to the good that God can make come from the worst of situations. Hope is not happiness in what is "happening" but a true joy in the Lord. That joy is not without tears; the difference is that when your hope is in the Lord those tears are not wasted. They don't just go down the sewer but soak into the soil of our heart and produce growth. Without hope, tears are wasted.
I don't have an end in sight with chemotherapy, but hope is being sure of what we don't see (Heb. 11:1). I don't see all the good God can make come from this ugly disease. I must trust because I know God. I look at my circumstances through the eyes of God. I don't look at God through my circumstances because that would distort his image. Instead I focus on God alone.
So for now I will hope in the Lord. I will continue on my journey that is not without tears, knowing God will use them to water the garden of my soul.
A word study of hope:
The word hope is mentioned directly 166 times in 158 verses
The book that mentions the word hope most (besides Psalms) is Job (16 times). Job certainly didn't have the best circumstances.
Most of the new testament (outside of the gospels) is attributed to Paul. He mentions hope 70 times. Have you read what happened to him? Read 2 Cor 11:23-28 just to name a few trials.
Rom 4:18 Abraham hoped didn't see realization
Rom 15:4 we can have hope through endurance and the encouragement of scriptureRom 15:12 We serve the God of Hope
Eph. 1:18 open the eyes of your heart to know the hope to which he has called you
Eph. 4:4 We have one hope
1 Tim 6:17-- we are not to hope in riches
Heb 6:17-18 God makes the unchanging nature of his purpose clear so that we that have hope may be encouraged
Heb 6:19 hope is an anchor for the soul, firm and secure
1 Peter 1:3 through the resurrection of Christ, we are born to a living hope
1 pet 3:15 believers should always be prepared to give a reason for the hope
1 John 3:3 hope purifies
Romans 8:24-25 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.