Restore Sparkle to Your Hope
I opened my invitation. The words unfurled like a banner—Sparkle of Hope.
Stress from unforeseen circumstances had sapped my strength and drained my hope.
The words that spread across the invitation to our ovarian cancer fundraising gala convicted me.
My hope had lost its sparkle.
I recalled another September in 2006 when I clung to a thread of hope. I had rolled over in bed and felt a mass in my abdomen. That delicate thread of hope unraveled when I heard the words, “You have ovarian cancer.”
As cancer survivors, we hope:
- as we race for the cure.
- while we endure our next treatment.
- waiting on tenterhooks, for encouraging results from our next test.
Sometimes I doubted God’s faithfulness. I begged him for answers and wondered if he heard my cries.
Fear and anxiety overwhelmed me.
What if I received an answer I didn’t want to hear? I had been disappointed in the past by undesirable results in response to my prayers.
I felt my hope waver.
But does hope itself waver? I don’t think so.
I’m the one wavering as I vacillate between two opinions.
Sometimes I behave like the Israelites when Elijah challenged them on Mount Carmel. “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him” (1 King 18:21 NIV).
Now it’s my turn to answer this question: Is God God or is he not? Is my hope based upon my circumstances or is my hope based upon who God is?
Ovarian cancer was not what I wanted to hear. I felt blindsided. I wasn’t sure I’d survive the treatments.
Sometimes my hope lost its sparkle.
But God was with me, holding me, comforting me.
I’m reminded of these words from an old hymn:
“My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus Christ, my righteousness.” **
My hope is in Christ.
How do I restore sparkle to my hope?
1. Praise God for who he is.
When I feel devastated or overwhelmed, offering praise can require conscious effort. Maybe this is why Scripture instructs us to offer a sacrifice of praise.
I can join David and praise God for who he is and for his faithfulness.
“Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again—my Savior and my God (Psalm 42:5 NLT).
2. Remember what God has done.
I reflect on how God has answered my prayers in the past, how his presence comforted me and brought me through previous trials.
I remember his promises to me personally and the promises from his Word.
“Now I am deeply discouraged, but I will remember you” (Psalm 42:5 NLT).
3. Ask God for wisdom.
I tend to ask God, “Why is this happening to me?”
Instead, maybe I need to ask him for wisdom to walk through my current trial, for scriptures to anchor my faith and offer me assurance of his love and provision.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (James 1:5 NIV).
4. Give Thanks.
In my brokenness, I struggle to give thanks. But I don’t necessarily thank God for the situation. I thank him for who he is in the midst of the pain and confusion.
Maybe he wants to reveal a new facet of his character to me through this crisis and draw me closer to him. I thank him for the specific ways he has answered my prayers and seen me through other trials.
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (I Thessalonians 5:18 NIV).
5. Trust God.
When I have done all I know to do, I let go and trust the one who loves me and gave his life for me.
Sometimes when I was going through chemotherapy, all I could do was rest like a little child in his arms.
“But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you” (Psalm 56:3 NLT).
Whatever the circumstances we face, he promises to be with us and to never leave us. He is for us and not against us. He loves us.
And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us (Romans 5:5 NASB).
How do you restore the “sparkle” to your hope when you are going through a trial?
**Hymn: “On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand” by Edward Mote, 1834.