The August 9th entry from the ‘Courageous’ calendar reads:
‘HOPE is not a fragile wish or a dream that fades with time – it’s an ANCHOR of the soul, held secure by the unchangeable promises of God.’
I would imagine this is the Scripture the above is based upon …
So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the HOPE set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast ANCHOR of the soul, a HOPE that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. Hebrews 6:17-20 (ESV)
On August 11, 2011 (one year ago as of this writing), I went under anesthesia and the surgeon’s scalpel for a surgery I had gone through four years earlier … a sigmoid colectomy … basically he removes a section of colon with a polyp of concern then reconnects the two ends of the colon and stitches you back up. But that was not what happened this time … he found a large cancerous mass attached to the outside of the colon. He removed as much of the cancer as he could but he didn’t get all of it … and the lower section of colon was a mess as a result of the cancer and the decision was made not to reconnect the colon … so I awakened to a permanent colostomy and a colostomy bag. And thus began the initial year of what I hope will continue to be a long battle with inoperable Stage IV Metastatic Colon Cancer …
But even in the midst of that I had hope … yet my hope was not based on the diagnosis nor the outcome. From all the messages and mixed signals I was getting in the hospital, I really did not think I had long to live … but I sensed the peace of the Lord settle upon me … an unexplainable peace … and even with death seeming imminent … there was great hope. And yet my peace was extremely frustrating to those I would be leaving behind … and I came to see my situation in a different light … Paul explains it best.
Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again. Philippians 1:18-26 (ESV)
So death for me was not as imminent as it once appeared and I have lived and enjoyed another year of life in the presence of my wife, family, friends, co-workers and brothers and sisters IN Christ … ALL the glory belongs to Christ Jesus! And yet I still embrace, ‘To live is Christ, and to die is gain.’ Both are Christ honoring … and in faith the believer must be ready to fully embrace either as a part of God’s will, plan and purpose.
What’s next? I have no idea … we just take it a day at a time, a week at a time, a month at a time and if it is the will of God twelve months from now we will celebrate our second anniversary in the battle. In the meantime we (and this is really a joint journey with me, my wife and Jesus) continue in this faith journey, with a peace beyond understanding guarding our hearts and minds IN Christ Jesus, standing in the grace of God, rejoicing in the hope of the glory of God as we travel through suffering, gaining endurance, building character while all the time being filled with hope.
Therefore, since we have been justified by FAITH, we have PEACE with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by FAITH into this GRACE in which we stand, and we rejoice in HOPE of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces HOPE, and HOPE does not put us to shame, because God’s LOVE has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:1-5 (ESV)
Our hope is not simply found in good circumstances or positive outcomes and calm seas … our hope is found IN Christ Jesus and His promises … the hope of glory is found in a mutual and reciprocal indwelling … you and I IN Christ AND Christ IN you and me (Abide in me, and I in you. John 15:4 ESV) … so amazing …
The mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ IN you, the HOPE of glory. Colossians 1:26-27 (ESV)
I stand firm upon this promise from Jesus …
‘I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.’ Hebrews 13:5 (KJV)
Thank you Jesus for your eternal indwelling presence … I sense it and it brings great comfort, peace and hope. Thank you Lord!