I can remember as clearly as if it was yesterday, sitting in the dining room of our family home, staring at the plaque on the wall.
We’d had it for years and the words always provided me with a sense of comfort and security.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11 v 1
What I didn’t fully understand as a young girl, was just how much these words would mean to me in my adult life. How they would, on so many levels, become my story .
We all need hope. Without it we can so quickly lose our desire to do anything.
The constraints of COVID-19 are affecting both the healthy and the chronically ill. We are, for once, all very much in the same boat. The future is unclear. It’s murky water.
Even the most positive of people can, at times in their lives, feel hopeless. For many the COVID pandemic has become, a life without hope.
Loss of a job, death of a loved one, a relationship breakdown, financial worries, chronic illness etc, are all episodes in life capable of threatening our peace and security. They snatch hope from us and can leave us feeling bewildered and alone.
There is a verse in the Book of Proverbs which gets right to the heart of what a lack of hope does to us.
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13 v 12
You know the feeling of a dream being realised? A hope fulfilled, faith rewarded! It’s an amazing feeling. Nothing can spoil the moment. You are full of so much joy, any pain and sorrow and even sickness, seem to vanish as you relish in the realisation your hope, your faith, was not in vain.
Chronic Illness is perhaps one of the biggest threats to having a hope filled life. It sucks so much energy from us and as the name “chronic” suggests, there is little hope it is going away.
Add in the COVID-19 pandemic, and the chronic illness sufferer could very easily fall into a well of hopelessness.
For many of us our diseases are not only chronic but progressive, perhaps even terminal.
So how do we deal with the subject of hope and faith and our need for dreams to be fulfilled?
Have a read of the verse below, which I think is a great starting point to unravel this topic of needing hope.
“Hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.” Romans 8:24-25
You need to read it a few times to get your head around it, but I think the key message is, hope begets hope.
Hope is all about waiting. It’s about dreaming. It’s about persevering. It’s about not giving up. It’s about having faith and believing, with eager anticipation. It will one day be realised.
I especially love the words in the verse, “eagerly waiting”.
To me they are full of life and hope.
For those of you with dogs you’ll know what it’s like to come home and see two eager eyes looking up at you with tail wagging. Full of joyful expectation of company, food treats and perhaps a good walk. This is hope, simple but genuine hope!
How eager are we when we think of our hopes and dreams? Perhaps you’ve stopped having hope or have given up on your dreams.
Perhaps it’s time to revisit the dreams you once had. They may be forgotten but it doesn’t mean they can’t, in some way shape or form, be fulfilled.
So while we may not hold out much hope for a cure or a change anytime soon with our chronic illness, or the COVID pandemic, it doesn’t mean other areas of our lives can’t be full of hope.
It All Starts With Faith
Yes, I’m a Christian and yes I believe in God and my faith is anchored in Him.
In this blog post though, I want to talk about what faith means in general.
Faith: Complete trust or confidence in someone or something. Oxford Dictionary
The little dog wagging her tail eagerly awaiting her owner, has complete trust and confidence a reward awaits. That is “faith in the substance of things hoped for”.
We need to have faith in others, whether Doctors, friends, family, colleagues, your boss, a neighbour or your trusty furry or feathered companion.
We sometimes need faith in polticians (as scary as it may seem at times), policies, organisations etc.
We also need faith in ourselves.
Without an element of faith our hopes and dreams will not be realised.
Hope Begets Hope
Once we start thinking about things we hope to achieve, or hope to happen, we can begin to look beyond our diseases, beyond our worrying circumstances.
We can begin to connect with who we are, who we were and who we want to be.
Life is always going to be full of uncertainties. It doesn’t mean it has to be hopeless.
Hope starts us on a path where we look outside of our current circumstances to a different future. Hope gives us a new focus. It encourages our dreams and provides flickers of belief they could and can come true.
As we start to remember what we once hoped for, there may be pain and sorrow for what realistically can’t be achieved. There will be hurts from past failures.
It’s important to grieve those losses and the associated pain.
Looking back at past hopes, unfulfilled hopes, may help you find new hopes.
What were your dreams? How can they be tailored to suit your chronic illness life? What can you do differently this time? We can learn so much from our mistakes.
What new hopes and dreams do you have? Start thinking about them, researching them, writing notes and planning how they could develop and be achieved.
This kind of activity is life giving. It’s a positive step forward and can take you from feeling hopeless to hopeful.
I can guarantee as you start to map out your new hopes, your new dreams, you will begin to feel a stirring of eager waiting, eager anticipation, even excitement. Your energy levels may even increase and your pain level may decrease.
Trust yourself. Don’t be afraid to put your faith in others you may need to help you realise your dream.
Hope will create more hope. It’s infectious, in a good way!
I hope you will be encouraged to take time to think about what can be achieved in your chronic illness life.
I hope you will feel a sense of joy and purpose stirring, as you remember you are more than your pain and your diagnosis. You are more than your disease. You have a life to live and it’s precious. It’s not something to keep on permanent hold.
It’s time to dream again, plan, hope and look for the evidence of things not yet seen, but things which can be and will be fulfilled in your life.
Hope begets hope.
If you’re looking for genuine support, care, understanding and friendship, you are so welcome to join my closed Facebook support forum, Medical Musings with Friends . It’s a safe place to connect with others living with chronic and complex diseases, who truly understand the daily challenges. A warm welcome awaits.
If you prefer an audible blog post, please check out my Podcast, Medical Musings With Sam
I’m a Contributor at “The Mighty”. You can check out my published articles at My Author Page
I also write @ Blogs by Christian Women
If you would like to read a little more about my journey, here’s the link to My Story
Australian Aspire Awards 2020 Nominee – Awarded Medal of Recognition for Individual Best Achievement Community Advocacy.
Thank you to Arthritis Queensland for the nomination!