Crisis

by Cynthia Simmons @CynthiaLSimmons

…Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him. Job 13:15 NIV

The change came suddenly. One Saturday morning, my husband, Ray, and I sat on the couch chatting. In a second, an odd expression crossed his face, and I wondered what upset him. I watched in horror as his limbs jerked and twitched. Plus, he didn’t respond when I called his name. Seizure. Seconds passed as I argued with my inner RN, refusing to believe what I saw. My husband was healthy–except he’d had a temperature and headache. Our doctor diagnosed the flu, which didn’t cause convulsions.

Ray’s body teetered, and he came close to sliding off the sofa. I pried myself away to summon my oldest son for help. The two of us eased my husband onto the carpet. Once I had Ray on his side surrounded by pillows, I reached my doctor who said to call an ambulance. Soon flashing lights and sirens filled the air, and neither of those brought calm. I longed for the EMTs to rush my husband to the hospital and unearth the problem. Instead, the techs pelted me with questions over and over. Gradually, Ray woke up both angry and uncooperative, not normal behavior for my sweet husband. His condition worried me.

Once in the emergency room, doctors diagnosed encephalitis, an infection of the brain. The specialist who managed his case found the exact virus right away and prescribed the appropriate drug. She said we were fortunate to find the cause so quickly. However, I kept watching Ray’s level of consciousness and his confusion, and I knew his condition was serious. At one point, I cried after the stress of the day, but the night nurse fussed at me. She said my tears could delay his recovery, so I sucked in my feelings and acted braver than I felt.

The next day, a neurologist dropped in and fired questions at my husband. Ray couldn’t wake up enough to understand and gave garbled replies. After listening to my husband’s failed communication, the doctor took me out in the hall and divulged grim news.  Apparently, my husband never had the flu, which meant the infection had more time to damage his brain. This doctor predicted months of physical therapy to reteach him motor and language skills. His prognosis overwhelmed me. Later, I discovered the other doctors held back their predictions to avoid oppressing me.

Looking back, I’m so grateful I had read Edith Schaeffer’s work. She had written about her husband’s ministry and final illness in her book, Tapestry. She stressed we would all experience hardships in life and our response to pain mattered, since the spirit world would observe us.

Consider Job. Satan believed he would turn against God if he lost his family, so God allowed testing. Can you imagine all the angels watching? I’m sure demons stayed nearby too. Job mourned by shaving his head and tearing his clothes after losing his children. However, job responded with: “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21 NKJV). When Satan then took his health, Job still didn’t blame God. He was determined to trust God no matter what: “…Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him” (Job 13:15 NIV).

Job’s story, along with insight into the spiritual realm, gave me incredible strength as I cared for my husband in those dark days. Since I had just started writing, I suspected this was battle raging in the unseen world to keep me from being effective. I struggled with exhaustion, worry, and fear as my husband inched toward a new normal, but I never accused God of hurting me. I was determined to walk through it all knowing the Lord walked with me. He would use it all in time for His glory.

When life suddenly changes, remember Job. Stay close to God while you grieve.

TWEETABLE
Crisis – encouragement when life is hard from @CynthiaLSimmons on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Cynthia-Simmons-5About the author: Former home school mother of five, Cynthia has a special spot in her heart for young moms and loves to encourage all women to pursue God. She hosts Heart of the Matter Radio, and writes inspirational fiction and non-fiction.  Find her at www.clsimmons.com.

Join the conversation: Have you had a crisis in your life that challenged your faith in God?

We Can’t Live Without Hope

by Karen Porter

The human body can survive about 3 weeks without food but not more than a couple of days without water. Mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, we can’t live without hope. Hope that tomorrow the sun will shine and take away the dreary gray clouds. Hope that the doctor will discover the right medicine. Hope that a prodigal child will call. Hope that a strained relationship will be changed to forgiveness and love again.

An ancient Roman saying states, “Where there is life there is hope.” Sounds good, but shouldn’t the statement be as Warren Wiersbe said? “Where there is faith, there is hope.” As believers, our hope is not in sunny days tomorrow or medical technology or the sudden change of heart of a person. Our hope is in Jesus. Peter said, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (I Peter 1:3 ESV, emphasis mine).

A living hope is a great expectation. But Peter is quick to point out that the anticipation is based on the completed work of Jesus. Each of us is born with a sin nature that separates us from God. Jesus provided rescue and redemption from that separation by paying the price for our sins on the cross, and His resurrection offers new life to us. His resurrection means that we may live too. And not simply live, but live with hope.

Our culture does not understand hope in Jesus because we are conditioned that we must do something instead of sitting around waiting for something to happen. Work hard enough and your future is bright. But the Lord said through Isaiah, “Those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31 NLT). That’s the difference being a believer makes, because faith fuels hope. Faith is believing even when the evidence says otherwise. Faith is trust in God, not in circumstances, because of who He is.

We will face disappointments and tragedies, but we must never give up on hope in Jesus. Faith is for today…trusting no matter what the doctor or the news said.

One friend’s future changed instantly when her child made a wrong and deadly decision, but faith has sustained her and given her hope for the difficult years that she has faced since then.

One friend’s reputation was destroyed by lies and half-truths. His dreams and opportunities seem ruined forever. But faith gets him through the day and hope assures him that God knows what is in store in the days and weeks to come.

One friend’s daughter was killed in a terrible accident. Yet my friend’s faith was so strong that she shook her fist at the devil and said, “If that’s all you got, you’ve failed. I’ll trust God.”

“Job said, God might kill me, but I have no other hope. I am going to argue my case with him” (Job 13:15 NLT).

Hope is trusting in the character of God even if the worst has happened. God is here today, and He is in tomorrow too. Whatever you face tomorrow, will your response be hope?

“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 NLT

karen-porter-About the Author: Karen Porter is an author, speaker, coach and successful businesswoman. She coaches aspiring writers and speakers and is co-owner of Bold Vision Books. In her spare time, she pursues her life-long goal of finding the perfect purse.

 

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a winner from today’s comments. To enter our contest for Karen’s book,  Get Ready, Practical Ideas to Prepare You for Ministry,  please comment below.  By posting in our comments, you are giving us permission to share your name if you win!  If you have an outside the US mailing address, your prize could be substituted with an e-book of our choice.

 

Join the conversation: How has holding on to hope helped you in the past?