Anxiety Buster: Choose Hope (Psalm 27:13-14)

I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD. (Psalm 27:13-14)

An ultrasound revealed an abnormality. What was it? My doctor’s concern was ominous. Baby could be the next Elephant Man. There could be multitudes of unseen tumors throughout his body. He might require heart surgery at birth.

The team of doctors caring for me — all specialists, with decades of cumulative experience — had never seen anything like it. But until the baby came, we just wouldn’t know.

Our friends had buried their stillborn son, Ezekiel, a few months earlier. Ezekiel had a rare condition that doomed him to death from the first diagnosis. His parents knew he would never make it and were grateful for the few months that he survived so Daddy could feel his son kick.

When our baby’s diagnosis came, Ezekiel’s funeral was fresh on my mind. For two weeks I tried to prepare myself mentally for the loss that might come.

But all my “preparation” made things worse. The fear and trepidation were paralyzing, all consuming. Dread and despair, my constant tormentors.

The Necessity of Hope

Victor Frankl, survivor of the holocaust concentration camps made an insightful observation. The prisoners who gave up hope of ever being released soon died. When they lost hope, they lost purpose. “It is a peculiarity of man that he can only live by looking to the future.”

And haven’t we experienced this many times before?

We cry out in anguish for God to answer some request…

We beg Him for blessings…

For a husband…

For children…

For health…

For financial success…

Like Rachel we demand, “Give me ______ or else I die! (Genesis 30:1)

When hope is gone the enemy whispers, “Life is worse than useless, and you’d be better off dead.” But we don’t have to listen to his lies. A wise person rejects doubt and despair.

The Basis of Hope

Zig Ziglar once pointed out, “The media has predicted 28 of the last 2 recessions.”

None of us know what tomorrow holds. We don’t even know what the next five minutes hold. But we can trust the One who gave His only Son for us…

To do what is right… (Genesis 18:25)

To meet all our needs… (Philippians 4:19)

To care for us… (1 Peter 5:6)

To keep us… (2 Timothy 1:12)

To give perfect peace… (Isaiah 26:3)

To bless those who seek Him… (2 Chronicles 16:9)

Hope is a Choice

Remember the doctor’s diagnosis? Fear of the unknown paralyzed me until one sunny day, driving beside UC Irvine, when I decided to expect the best.

Since I couldn’t control the outcome anyway, why not just believe that God was going to be good to me?

After all, if I was wrong and the baby died, God would give me grace to go through that valley. He had done it before. And He would still be good, for He knows what is best.

Our pastor and a missionary friend would later anoint me with oil and pray over me. After that meeting, Dennis would tell me, “Don’t worry about the baby. The Holy Spirit told me the baby is fine.” And he was.

Choose Hope!

I thank God for the outcome. I thank Him for my wonderful Andrew. And I thank Him for the lesson He taught me:

Joy is not found in my present circumstances. Joy comes with my expectation — my choice to believe— that God is good to me, and He will keep His promises no matter what.

Give Jesus your burdens today. Trust Him to manage your affairs and all that concerns you. He can do anything except fail!

Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord. (Psalm 31:24)