In every day life, most of us depend on our health – for the future, for happiness, for security. When your health or the health of a loved one is ripped away because of chronic illness, it’s easy to be left despondent.
After that awful, sinking feeling of having the foundation of your life pulled out from underneath your feet, our natural response it often to quickly rebuild.
We hunt desperately for a new foundation, a new hope. But what will it be? Sometimes it’s easy to break our hope into little bits and place it in different baskets.
3 places not to place your hope in during chronic illness
ONE: Medical Intervention
Don’t get me wrong. Medicine and doctors are a gift and a blessing. Medication can be really helpful. Yet if this is where you place the majority of your hope, you will be disappointed.
Medication can stop working or not work in the first place. Tests can come back negative when they should be positive or vice versa. Clinical trials can run out of money, wonder drugs can seem to work for everyone else except you, and cures can have side-effects.
If we place our hope in medicine, we will be disappointed.
This is an odd one. They say after all, that “time is the great healer” – but often that’s not the case with chronic illness. Nevertheless, it can still be comforting to rely on the fact that “all things change” and “this is just a season”.
There’s nothing wrong with this – but if we place all our hope in Time, what happens when things don’t change? What happens when the season stretches on and on?
If we place our hope in time we will be disappointed.
THREE: Other People
We are called to depend on other people. It’s part of being a Christian and part of being human. Yet it’s unfair to place our hope for happiness, security and the future, in those around us. It holds them to far too high a standard, and when they fail we will become bitter and unforgiving.
If we place our hope in people we will be disappointed.
One place to put your hope
As Christians, we know the correct answer is “Jesus” – but why should we put our hope in Him? There are two reasons.
The first is obvious: Jesus will never disappoint us, unlike the other options above. He is a sure and certain hope.
This is because the universe (including illness) is subject to His will. It’s because He alone is utterly capable of fulfilling our needs for happiness, security and a future. Lastly, it’s because our story is unfolding according to His plan and it is not a mistake.
Secondly, we ought to put our hope in Jesus because He deserves it. When we place our complete hope in “this is simply a season” or “when they find a cure..” we are saying that He is not enough.
We are proclaiming that He is not our Best and Only and most Perfect hope. This is not true and denies Him the trust and worship He deserves.
Place your Hope where it matters
“Hope is a thing with feathers,” Emily Dickinson famously said. It’s amazing what humans can do if they have hope.
With hope we can fly, and even soar above the troubles of life. Without hope we die – which is why we are so quick to place our hope somewhere (anywhere!).
If hope is so essential, it’s worth making sure we are hope in the right thing. There’s nothing to be gained from building our lives on shaky substitutes, and everything to lose!
Jesus will never ‘fall through’. He will never leave us hopeless. His ending is always a good one.
//Where have you placed your hope? Does your life reflect this?
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2 thoughts on “3 places not to place your hope in during chronic illness (and one place you need to!)”
Thank you Emily for this great post. There is pain in the watching I know. Although it is so difficult you are going to reap the rewards of that patient endurance. I read this in your blog. You are so very right that the only One we can put our hope in is Jesus. Everything of man, everything created, will fail us. They are but a broken stick and they will always be a broken stick to us.
When the Uncreated made us He deliberately allowed us to be flawed and weak. This was by design. We are designed to need God for everything. When we humble ourselves enough to accept this, we can begin to learn how to lean our entire being on Jesus. Too often we fall for the pride of man in thinking that somehow he is greater than our Creator. When we do this we will always be disappointed. Better to face that now than later. God, however, will never betray us or fail us, no matter what lies satan tells to the contrary. I speak from deep personal experience here.
But God does allow the suffering, doesn’t He? That trips so many people up because they cannot see the reason or sense in it. They cannot because they choose to reason without the Holy Spirit and so are lead astray. When we humble ourselves, trusting in Jesus to lead and provide, He makes us understand the great love of the Father. Over time the ‘why’ becomes clear but also unnecessary, lost in the beauty of just being with the Beloved, Jesus.
Thank you Emily for your writing. Beautiful!
Thank you for your thoughtful comment Homer. I especially like this: “Over time the ‘why’ becomes clear but also unnecessary, lost in the beauty of just being with the Beloved, Jesus.”
Thank you for sharing 🙂