It would be ludicrous for me to say I understand what you’re going through. When you have a chronic illness or a child with a chronic illness, there is practically no way for anyone to truly understand the depth of your daily distress or the breadth of your pain. You may be walking through some of the most difficult days of your life. You might be finally feeling like you can breathe again. Even though I cannot fully understand…even though I do not know what your circumstances hold…I do know this…hope abounds.
Hope is not a fuzzy feeling. It’s not an illusive mind trick. It’s a real and absolute assurance. It’s an understanding the future holds promise and good.
Not clear yet? Then, consider the opposite of hope: despair. We’re all familiar with despair. It comes in varying forms and levels. It’s the feeling there is no way out, no way forward and no assurance of a better future. It’s the “end of the rope.” Different than depression, despair is a sense that difficulties cannot be repaired and forward momentum is impossible.
I think that’s the core of the issue…to choose hope, we must believe forward momentum is possible. We must believe there is a brighter day. We must know that in the midst of our troubles, we stand on solid ground, and not on sinking sand.
Maybe I recently mentioned that one of my mast cell friends recently said she felt better, calmer after talking with me? I quickly suggested to her this feeling has nothing to do with me being a good, calming person…but everything to do with my relationship with Jesus. For me, this friendship with God is what allows me to always choose hope. Because I know God is always with me, I can claim the promise that He has a good plan for my life AND a HOPE for my future (Jeremiah 29:11). I can choose hope, because I know there is always a way through.
Sound sappy? Maybe it seems that way. But I can attest to the fact that it’s not. While I still struggle with fear, anger, sadness and all manner of distress, one thing I do not struggle with is despair. Despite my pain, despite my illness flairs, despite my ongoing symptoms, I have hope. And this hope is not just the maybe-someday-things-will-get-better kind of hope. It’s the calm assurance that no matter what circumstances seem like at the time, God is capable of helping me handle them.
So how do you choose hope? You find your solid ground. Mine is Jesus. What’s yours?