Pathway to Hope #2
Seeking Hope Outside of Ourselves.
When I first found out I had cancer, my natural reaction was to go inward. There were several weeks, maybe even months, where honestly that was all I could do. But eventually, though it seemed like a safe place, I did not find hope there.
I was quickly reminded that experiencing hope—the kind that is real and lasting—requires us to look outside of ourselves. In other words, finding real hope comes from without, not within.
My best source of hope came when I looked to God. Through him, I found hope, strength and peace on my cancer journey.
Before I get too far ahead of myself, know that I wrote this Pathway to Hope specifically for all people facing cancer. I invite you to walk with me on this, whatever your spiritual background or interest.
But know this: I want you to have hope like I’ve had on your cancer journey—this is where I am taking you on the Pathway to Hope.
This comes through a relationship with God. When I say relationship, I mean knowing God in a close and personal way, as you do a friend. Except this relationship is very different, as this friend is also the one who created the entire universe! That’s a staggering thought.
Maybe you are thinking, “My heart wants that, but my mind says no.” In other words, you’d like something like that to be possible, but intellectually you’re not ready for such a leap—that God exists, that we can know him, that he is loving. After all, how could a loving God allow suffering? This is not an easy question to answer, but here is an article I found helpful: Where is God in the Midst of Tragedy?
If you have doubts about God, I want assure you that you are not alone. My own journey has caused me to ask a lot of questions. I’ve also know that today at least 1/3 of people in the U.S. come from non-religious backgrounds—in other words, they have little or no experience with faith. That’s very normal these days.
Perhaps, some of you who are reading this are like me—you grew up with a faith background, so the concept of God is not unfamiliar. Maybe you are close to him, or perhaps you feel disconnected.
Regardless of what you believe or don’t believe, I want you consider this: what if it were possible know to God and to be close to him?
For me, as I have faced cancer, this relationship has been critical—even more than my family, friends, or breakthrough treatment (for more, see our story). And all of these things I just mentioned were invaluable. But my relationship with God so much more.
I have often said, “I can’t imagine going through cancer through without God’s help.” And it is so true.
I remember several times, sitting in the infusion room, watching the steady drip of chemo fluid filter through the tube and into my body, facing a very hazy future, yet somehow feeling comforted that God was present with me in the room and in this ordeal.
God’s help didn’t mean he took away my pain, and my experience was still excruciatingly difficult. But his presence and guidance radically redefined my journey.
God’s hope became the difference.
As you think about your life, how often do you look for hope outside of yourself?
Often, this is not our natural inclination (it’s not mine).
My 2-year-old daughter has reminded me of this. She is at an age where she is learning to do many things on her own, and she insists—demands really—on doing so every day. “Do it myself!” She says. She quickly gets upset when my wife or I take away her chance to try. There are plenty of times when she can do things independently, such as climb in her high chair and grab a snack from the pantry. But then there are a great many things, she can’t (or shouldn’t) do herself yet.
This is a great parallel: when it comes to finding hope: we can’t do it ourselves. We need to look outside of ourselves.
For me—and many other survivors—facing cancer has been deeply humbling. At many points I have been forced to acknowledge my need for others, and especially God, more than I ever have. And yet, so often this has actually proved a positive.
So, let’s get real. Going forward, how willing are you to seek help outside of yourself?
On a search for hope, I think it is critical that you are at least open to this idea.
In the next Pathway, I’m going to share more about my story—how I discovered hope from ashes.
Yours for hope.
Founder of Hope Has Arrived
Three steps you can take:
Ponder: How willing are you to look outside of yourself for hope?
Remember: The journey to finding real hope begins by looking without, not within.
Consider: These words of hope…“I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from?”