This message is dedicated to my friend, Jerri, who is an amazing example of living in faith and holding on to hope.

Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God, the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them – the LORD, who remains faithful forever.    ~ Psalm 146:5-6 (NIV)

Jerri, my hairstylist and sister-friend, was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer.  Her doctor said there was nothing he could do, that only 15% of people with this cancer survive.  Jerri’s response to the doctor:  “Then why aren’t you treating me like one of  the 15%?!”    Jerri’s response to God:  “I give this to You, Lord. My hope is in You.”   Jerri prepared for the worst, but ALWAYS hoped for the best.  She remained prayerful and steadfast in faith as she endured months of painful treatments.  As a hair stylist, she worked as much as she could and took every opportunity she had to share her faith with others, always giving praise to God and stating that her hopes remained in the Lord.

Yesterday Jerri called  with wonderful news.  Her latest tests indicate her lymph nodes are clear, and it looks likely that surgery can remove the cancer that remains in her lungs and chest.  If all goes well, Jerri could be cancer free! Praise the Lord!!!  This is nothing short of a miracle.  Surely this is a reward for her unshakable faith and continued hope in the Lord.

What is HOPE?  It’s something we feel when we long for something.  I used to say I ‘wish’ for this or that.  Now my ‘wishes’ are replaced with hope.  What’s the difference?  For me, wishing simply states my wants as if I’m talking to Santa Clause or the tooth fairy.  Hope is a spiritual feeling that comes from my heart, based on faith, often wrapped in prayer, and is directed to God.  Hope is a positive, encourage feeling I can share with others.  My wishes were only thoughts seeking luck.

The Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary defines hope as a “trustful expectation, particularly with reference to the fulfillment of God’s promises.  Biblical hope is the anticipation of a favorable outcome under God’s guidance.  More specifically, hope is the confidence that what God has done for us in the past guarantees our participation in what God will do in the future.  This contrasts to the world’s definition of hope as a ‘feeling that what is wanted will happen’.”

I used to hope in a questioning, asking way…a way that conveyed uncertainty, not confidence.  Holman’s definition states hope is a “trustful expectation”…”a favorable outcome under God’s guidance”…and is about having confidence in God.

A true feeling of hope can be shared with others.  When others are struggling, hurting, depressed, or feeling overwhelmed, our ability to have  hope – confident expectations based on our faith – can lift them up and help them grow in faith.

The Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (HIBD) says that Christians can have confidence in God because of the things He has done.  He has proven His strength, power and might.  For thousands of years God has made miracles happen and helped those who seemed hopeless and helpless to find a way, when there seemed to be no way.  The greatest proof we have that God is our one, true source of hope is the fulfillment of Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.  His resurection after dying on the cross as a sacrifice for us “defeated the power of sin and death”, thereby giving us hope for the future.

“Given the assurance of hope, Christians live in the present with confidence and face the future with courage.  They can also meet trials triumphantly…Christian hope is the gift of God.”    (HIBD)

That statement is definitely true for my friend, Jerri.  From the moment she trusted God with her life and put her hopes in HIM, she began facing her future with courage and meeting her trials with triumph.  As she did, she demonstrated grace and peace that could only come from God, and I believe it’s because she truly put her hopes in the Lord.

Please pray for Jerri and her doctors, that her lymph nodes are indeed clear, for her surgery to be successful, and for God’s will to be complete healing for her.  Pray also that Jerri will continue to use her experiences to encourage others in hope and faith, bringing glory and honor to God.

If you are in a situation needing hope, then my prayers are with you, too. If you’d like others to pray for you, you can respond to this post, or to my email     God bless you.

 We (Christians) have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.   ~ Hebrews 6:19 (NIV)

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.     ~ Romans 15:13 (NIV)