I never used to think of hope as something powerful, until I got sick. Really sick. When you’re in a seemingly impossible situation, the power hope brings can be the difference between life and death; breakthrough or defeat.
Are you in a seemingly impossible situation? Are you contending for someone who is? Then you need to understand the power of hope.
Suddenly, illness struck. I had been going through a lot of stress and knew my health was declining, but I had no idea what lay ahead. One day, while I was at work, strength completely left my body. I collapsed without warning. It wasn’t long before my mind became cloudy and confused. Torturous anxiety and deep depression were my constant companion. I had held a senior position in a top international company and was now overwhelmed by the most basic undertaking. The inability to work and support my family of seven only increased my concern and illness.
My wife and I experienced an agonizing two years of doctors misdiagnosing and hence mistreating my symptoms. Unquestionably, this only made my situation worse. It was a relief when we found someone who seemed to know what she was doing. I remember the appointment as if it were yesterday. After a battery of tests, the doctor entered the room and delivered the news. Lyme disease. Our hearts sank. We had seen the devastating effects of Lyme disease on a friend’s daughter and the years of unsuccessful attempts to get better. This was now our own nightmare.
The disease had aggressively attacked my brain and nervous system. On the worst days all I could do was try to survive. I was so weak that even the simple task of getting dressed was exhausting. Extreme sensitivity to both light and sound had me spending entire days in a darkened room wearing ear plugs. The anxiety and depression grew even more severe as the disease advanced and my situation worsened. I was in such excruciating pain physically, mentally, and emotionally. I would wake up each day not wanting to live. The nights brought no rest or relief. They were only a reminder that another morning was coming, when the symptoms were at their worst.
Getting a diagnosis is not equal to getting help. Treatment was still elusive. My case was so advanced that my body would react to the smallest attempts at a cure. We were so desperate we spent nine weeks at a world renowned clinic specializing in Lyme Disease. It was there that I was put in the Intensive Care Unit, being one of the worst cases they had ever seen. I was not encouraged. Could they help me?
When I left the treatment center, the Lyme was gone, but I was still extremely ill. We had exhausted all types of treatments and depleted our bank account. I began to wonder how much longer I would or could last. Feeling defeated, I grieved over what might be the fate of my family.
Through it all, my wife hung onto hope. The strain of the illness had taken her deep into God’s word. Deep into His promises. For the first time in our 30 years of Christianity, we understood what God says about healing. After my hope had run out, hers kept going. She knew, through intimacy with the Father, that I would be healed. We only needed to believe in what we could not see. Then it happened. As suddenly as the three year nightmare had started, my brain turned on for a couple of hours one day. Something was shifting, changing. I was under no more treatment, but God’s healing power began flowing into me. Within a month, I was working part time and regaining strength. My thoughts and emotions began to come back into alignment with the truth. I, once again, had hope.
It would be great to say the struggle was over, but it was still another year of correcting my thinking before I was walking in complete health. It is with great joy I can now say I am not only physically stronger than before I got sick, but I am feeling better than I ever have! Praise God! My favorite testimony is that this past month I completed the difficult swim from Alcatraz Island to the shore in the San Francisco Bay. This fulfilled a lifelong dream.
In hindsight, it was hope that made a critical difference, the difference between life and death. I have to admit I once thought of hope as one of the lesser traits, a distant third to love and faith. No longer. Biblical hope isn’t wishful thinking. It is not soft or wishy-washy. I love how Romans 8 talks about hope:
For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait patiently for it. - Romans 8:24-25
When everything else falls away, hope stands strong. It refuses to give in, regardless of how things look. Why? Because it relies on the Object of our hope as Romans 8 continues in v. 31 “… If God is for us, who can be against us?” God Himself, the Almighty Creator of the universe is the Anchor and Source of our hope. What can stand against it?
There are some additional amazing things I’ve learned about hope. It is a powerhouse in any impossible situation. It seems to gain strength in seemingly impossible situations. It is scientifically proven to change the physical body’s response to disease. Maybe one of the most amazing things about hope is that it can be transferred! Your hope can empower someone else’s situation. They can literally draw from and receive power from your hope, such as in my case. At times I was so sick that hope or anything else was virtually impossible, but I had somebody pulling me along with their hope. Are you getting the idea of how powerful hope is yet?
I can’t speak to everything you should do in your impossible situation, but I can tell you one thing not to do; never ever give up hope. Hope may very well be the powerhouse that brings your miracle, your healing, your breakthrough. It may be the very thing that turns your impossible situation into the possible. It did in mine.