Wednesday, October 14, 2015


In a few hours, James and I will be receiving results from his latest PET scan. Over the past several days as we have anticipated the scan, had the scan, and in the waiting for the results, it is easy to get the feeling that your very life depends on the results. Will it show the chemo has worked to beat back the cancer, at least for now? Maybe we'll find out that James's tumors are, at least, not growing, giving us a bit more time. Or will the test reveal a body ridden with cancer, tumors mercilessly multiplying as they seek to take a life?

At the very least, I suppose you can be thankful for PET scans, since it removes a lot of the guess work.

But these days while I have found myself, yes, very truly thankful for the tests, I have also been pondering hope. It's a little word, but when you are living under the sentence of death those four letters start to carry so much weight.


"The feeling that what is wanted can be had, or that events will turn out for the best."

Is that our hope? We want more days, more time. We want health, and healing. And we, of course, hope for the best. Maybe we'll be one of the lucky ones, the ones who cheated death through the sheer mercy of God and the thousands of prayers offered up by hundreds of loved ones. We hope the scan is amazingly clear. Or at least clearer.

We hope.

Loved ones, that is not our hope.

Jeremiah, born in one of the most tumultuous times of his nation's history, lived a life surrounded by suffering. Nearly every sermon he preached was rejected. He was a total failure vocationally, yet he could not change jobs, or keep his mouth shut. So he kept on preaching which only led to more trouble. He was imprisoned, maligned, smacked around, and even thrown in a well to die. And that's just his life. He watched his own countrymen attacked, killed, maimed, and taken prisoner at the hands of a foreign enemy. He lived among children with swollen bellies and hollow eyes, starving for life. His own neighbors starved to death, and he helplessly watched as dogs fought over the carcasses. He saw the temple, where once the very presence of God had been, be reduced to rubble. Not a single stone remained on top of another one. The beauty, the splendor, the glory of Israel was gone. Ground to dust.

God had left.

So where was hope?

"The feeling that what is wanted can be had, or that events will turn out for the best."

In Jeremiah's day, there were many who had hope. They earnestly believed that God would be gracious to them, that the foreign invaders would show mercy, and that God would once again make Israel a great nation, it's splendor and wealth returned to its former glory. God is faithful to Israel, they said. We won't suffer. Sure, it looks bad, but God will make it turn out for the best. They had such strong hope, in fact, that they despised Jeremiah for his gloomy messages to the contrary.


Such a little word. But so much power.

So where was Jeremiah's hope? In the midst of the rubble, the ruin, the heart ache, the disaster. In the days when his prayers went no further than the ceiling, his very soul being strangled by pain. In the season where, at best, God Himself seemed to be rejecting him, or at worst, was out for his very life, Jeremiah wrote some of the most comforting words in all of Scripture.

But this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
His mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
"The Lord is my portion," says my soul,
"therefore I will hope in him."


Our hope is not in the scan, dear friends. Our hope is not in better days ahead, or even more of them. Our hope is in the living God, the LORD. The God of Angel Armies. Yahweh. The God whose love has no limit. The God who pours new mercy into our lives each and every day we open our eyes. The faithful God who upholds us by the very words of His mouth. We have thrown our lot in with Him - He is our portion - and so, we hope.

Go have a great day - we'll post results when we can. 
~james & kristen


  1. Amen and amen. Continuing to pray to our Father!

    Love you much, Kristen! Sending a big hug.

  2. Sending a hug . . . a hope-filled hug.

    Thank you for this good word; thank you for your God-focused perspective.