“To You Lord I lift up my soul; in You I trust, O my God. Do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me. No-one whose hope is in You will ever be put to shame… Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for You are God my Saviour and my hope is in You all day long.” Psalm 25v1-5
OK, I am preaching to myself this morning, dragging my weary soul toward the truth of love and faithfulness. Sam’s scan results yesterday showed no real change, despite all his efforts with ‘alternative treatments’. Although it would have been foolish to expect anything else (and its obviously good that it has not re-grown) for him the news was cruelly disappointing. He had ‘felt’ things changing inside his head and can’t explain why it doesn’t show. In fact he’s deciding to go with what he believes rather than what we can see! And as he is well and continues to have no symptoms the doctor is happy there is no progression. We should be happy about that! Yet ‘hope deferred makes the heart sick’. I did not even realise that against all the odds I was expecting something more – though I knew Sam was. What was my hope based on? How often are we guilty of putting our hope in something other than the Lord? He has not changed!
As someone said, without any evidence it leaves us still treading water; without longed for encouragement, weariness is dragging us down. We have to face reality again – he has a mass in his brain which cannot be removed and threatens to grow, disable and finally kill him. It is like going back to square one. Yet the Lord knows – yes, we believe He knows every cell – and He is with us. So as the water laps round our necks at least we do have life-belts! We can hang on to hope; there is still a choice between hope and despair. Do we put our hope in these unconventional drugs Sam is using? No – we put our hope in the Lord. And do we hope for a magic wand to wave away the cancer as if it never existed? No… we hope for the Lord. And do we hope that in the end he will live three score years and ten? Yes… of course we do, but that is not really it. Our sure and solid hope that lasts forever stretches beyond this life, ‘an anchor beyond the veil’ and our times are in His Hands. We cannot presume that somehow we have rights to long life and happiness; so many around us suffer and die, why should we be exempt? Owch. But hope is ‘the joyful expectation of the goodness of God’: that cannot be shaken.
Our strong confidence is that through it all the Lord will be glorified, whatever happens, that He will be with us and that in the valley of the shadow there need be no fear – even if there are tears and sadness as we walk this path. It’s not just about having faith, but it’s about Who we have faith in and the rock-solid reliability of His word. Lord speak that word to us again… Guide me in your truth and teach me, for You are God my Saviour and my hope is in You all day long.”