For the last five years I knew it was a possibility I could get cancer. It was so unlikely though. I thought maybe I'd have to have a liver transplant in about 20 years, but I think in my mind I was planning on God protecting my body from ever having serious complications.
When we heard about the cancer it was so scary. There were so many unknowns. Then around every corner there seemed to be two options, one devastating and one hopeful. Is it cancer or not? Is it this kind of cancer or that kind? Is there this treatment option or not? Every time the answers came back different than what we prayed for. As we went to Mayo hoping and expecting to get options for treatment, we were devastated when they did not give us much hope medically.
When we arrived at CTCA I told people I'm pessimistically hopeful for more options. Why would they have a different answer than Mayo? Yet when we spoke with them, it was as if we were given new life when the doctor said that there were still options and reason for hope medically.
So there I was. Throughout this entire process I have prayed that God would heal me medically or miraculously. However our hope ebbed and flowed as we got different medical news. After a bomb from a doctor, Kendra and I would feel like we were gut punched; hope was escaping us. Then as we fixed our eyes on Christ that hope would come back... until we spoke to another doctor or got a test result back.
All along I've said I don't put my hope in medicine, but I don't deny that God might use it. This whole experience is a process. Hope and faith and grace are a process. That's why were called to work out our faith with fear and trembling, Phil 2:12. I almost felt guilty as I was relieved and hopeful for my healing after speaking to the doctors here at CTCA. Why did medical options raise my spirits? I had had found peace again after the news from Mayo, but I'll admit I thought the only way I was going to be healed was solely in God doing a miracle. When I got news that medically I may have options I felt like a new man. I wondered if I was putting my hope in chariots and horses of modern medicine instead of the name of the Lord as in Psalm 20:7.
Is it wrong to find hope and encouragement in medicine and in man during this time? If so, why have we been praying that God would open options for us both medically or miraculously? You see this is an answer to prayer, to have options. And yet, my hope is still in Jesus Christ. My greatest sense of peace is that I know God is able to save me. Whether He chooses to or not, my hope is not dependent on a cure, but on His promise.
So as I reflect on the last three weeks, it wasn't my hope that ebbed and flowed, but my faith. Do I trust that God is in control no matter the circumstance? Today I do. I have cried out as the father in Mark 9:24 cries, "Lord help my unbelief" so many times in the last three weeks. He is there to answer when I call. I would say my faith is greater than it has ever been, and yet I've also felt like Peter and Thomas at moments denying and doubting.
So where is Hope born out of? Faith. Where is faith born out of? Trust. Which leads me back to one of my favorite passages.
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the LORD and shun evil.
8 This will bring health to your body
and nourishment to your bones.