The tourniquet of pain tightens around my head as a fire engine shrieks past my mini-van. I begin praying aloud for God to help me safely make it to my next stop. Was I a fool to attempt to drive this morning? After days of being stuck inside, I felt slightly better. I knew I needed to fight against depression as well as the migraines, but was I wrong? Should I have cowered in a dark room or maybe stumbled around my house with my sunglasses on?
Hope can feel elusive when you are fighting what seems an endless battle. It’s easy to lose track of any advances you have made when you aren’t where you think you should be. I think a great deal of the New Testament was written by men who couldn’t believe where they were, who thought they should be somewhere else. The difference between them and me? I catch myself thinking I should be someplace better, they knew they deserved worse. How else could the apostle Paul (beaten, shipwrecked, left for dead, imprisoned — though not in that order) say that he had discovered how to be content in all circumstances? (see Philippians 4) How could he talk about hope with such assurance?
Abound in hope? Will anyone looking at my weak faith say that I abound in hope? Lately, I find myself fighting against anger and bitterness, which feels ridiculous. I can see great improvements in this war against debilitating migraines compared to a few months ago, but I struggle with hoping that I will continue to get well. I struggle with how long I’ve been gaining and then losing ground. I have tried treatments, medications, even piercings, but nothing seems to help long-term. If I look to any of these things for my hope, I’m lost.
Over the last couple of years, God has brought me back to my need to hope in Him alone. He has convicted me that He is the God of hope and if I will hope in Him, then no matter what circumstance I face He will hold me. I have to hope alone in Christ, knowing I may never get well, but that He is still good and in control.
I’ve written about this struggle and have now published Memoirs of a Headcase: Held by the God of Hope. I have wondered how I can share my story with you, I who falter and stumble? He has shown me that as I choose to hope, I am celebrating Him and what He can not only do in me but what He can do in you and through you as well.
So, you find you are struggling with anger? Struggling with fear? Struggling with bitterness and wondering why God has you where He has you? You are not alone. I understand. He is teaching us here in this hard place. He has hope for us yet! Don’t give up, precious friend. He can teach us to be content and hope in Him.
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Photo Credits: Aaron Burden, Fineas Gavre, Annie Spratt