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I put down the phone with a sick feeling in my stomach.
The healthcare provider had just declined the treatment my husband needed for his cancer.
I wanted to hit someone. I was so angry. I felt like someone was trying to kill my husband and I had to stop it.
It felt like I’d been kicked while I was down.
Hearing your husband has cancer is bad enough; being told the treatment that could save him has been declined feels like suddenly discovering the room you’re sitting in is filled with toxic gas.
I didn’t even know what to say to God.
I didn’t really know how to feel about God right then. I felt like I’d been nice to God. I hadn’t demanded that he cure my husbands’ cancer. I hadn’t told him I would only believe if he let my husband live. I’d trusted him to do the best by us and then God let this happen. He let my husbands’ treatment be denied.
And it was right there in that moment that I realized my hope was in the wrong place.
I wasn’t hoping in God. I was hoping in chemo.
I was placing my faith in medicine to heal rather than God to do the best for us.
And I felt like I’d been punched in the gut again.
My husband and I spoke a lot about how our faith had been misplaced about how we had become to believe that it was the chemo that would heal him, not God; about how medicine had become the only answer to our dilemma.
I was torn up that God was not my only hope but my last hope.
How could I have gotten to this place where my hope wasn’t in God but in some medicine?
It got me thinking about how easy it is to think we’re hoping in God when really we’re hoping in something else.
You think you’re hoping in God but your hope is in the bank to extend your loan.
You think you’re hoping in God but really your hope is in the recruitment agency to get you the job you want.
You think you’re hoping in God to give you a child but really your hope is in the fertility treatment you started last week.
You think you’re hoping in God to bring your child home safely but really your hope is in the lift-club mom to drive well.
What happens when these things we hope in instead of God crumble? Do we blame God or do we recognize that maybe our hope was misdirected?
There is a well-known verse, Psalms 25:3, that I’ve clung to in the past, and I’m sure you have too, “No one who trusts in [God] will ever be disgraced...”
I think this is why it can feel so hard when the false things we’ve hoped in collapse. We believe that if we trust in God, if we hope in him, we will not be disgraced, we feel like this promise is a guarantee.
We think this verse is a guarantee but I think so often we’re hoping in the wrong thing. So when those things we’ve put false hope in fall through, let us down and reveal their deception, we feel like God has done that to us too.
It’s not God letting us down, it’s the things we should never have placed our hope in.
I love this verse in Romans 15 that talks about God as the source of hope.
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 (NLT)
This verse removes our circumstances or emotions as the cause for hope and puts God squarely back in our field of vision.
We don’t have to pretend to be optimistic anymore instead we can go to the source of hope and ask God to give it to us.
We can exchange false hope for true hope in God.
I don’t know if God was just redirecting our eyes on back to Him, or if he somehow pulled a miracle off, but the next day the medical aid said they’d turned down the claim in error and my husbands’ treatment would be covered in full.
Right now I want to pray for you (and with you) as we learn together to put our hope in God and not in other things: I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. May you overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
No matter what you are going through God can be your source of hope. When you find away to hope in God you’ll discover that Psalm 25:3 is true. And that no one who hopes in God is ever disgraced.
Wendy van Eyck is proudly South African and lives in Johannesburg where she runs a 24-hour Gospel Music Television channel that broadcasts to 47 African countries. Her website www.ilovedevotionals.com features devotionals that range from learning about God while doing laundry to discovering biblical truths while caring for her cancer fighting husband. Follow her on twitter: @wendyvaneyck or find her on Facebook.