When hope is all you've got


Pulling into the driveway I saw Becky emerging through the opening garage door. In an instant I knew she had finally received the phone call we were both looking forward to and yet dreading at the same time.

“Vanderbilt Children’s just called. The test shows he is having seizures,” she said softly.” I could tell she had been crying.

For the past 16 years we have wrestled with Jon Alex’s special needs- autism, cerebral palsy, mental and cognitive impairment, and lack of mobility. We have grieved over and over. We have wrestled with God for answers. And yet somehow through all the storms, we have stayed in the boat.

The higher the waves and the stronger the wind, the more determined we have been to trust God and stay in the boat. We have worshipped while wet. We have been soaked but not sank. We have taken on water but we have not drowned.

But recently Jon Alex has exhibited some new behaviors that concerned us. The neurologists had suggested some tests earlier this month.

Just a few days ago, during Christmas week, we learned from the tests that Jon Alex now has epileptic seizures in addition to his other special needs.

Getting a new diagnosis stirs up all those old emotions. The grief cycle begins again, and what was the new normal gives way to the even “newer normal.”

I want to shout out, “Why God? Why now?” I want to scream and kick and complain. But then I remind myself what I espouse so often to others to whom I minister.

God is telling HIS story through my son’s life. None of this is about me, or us, or my son. This is the part we have been given in HIS story. When I cry out that “it’s not fair,” I remind my self that grace isn’t fair either though. I don’t deserve it either, but He gives it to me anyway.

God promises three things in all circumstances. Three things he will accomplish in the telling of his story. Three things he will accomplish in my story, and in yours.

These are the promises I cling to, and in these promises I have hope.

He promises that everything he does is about bringing more people into his kingdom. He promises to take care of the faithful believer in the end. The third promise is that in all things he will be glorified and worthy of honor. So when I accept my role in his story and I realize it’s his story we are writing in the first place, I see things differently.

I have hope. Hope that anchors my soul.

Hope that God will use this journey we are on to accomplish those three things.

The day will soon come when there will be no more crying and no more tears. There will be no more pain and no more sorrow. God says he himself will wipe them away and he will make all things new.

Autism will be defeated.

Cerebral palsy will no longer exist.

Seizures will cease.

Death will be no more.

Sorrow will turn into joy and mourning into dancing.

The last chapter of the story will be told.

So stay in the boat my friends. When hope is all you have, hope will be enough.

When hope is all you've got, you've got all you need.

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
therefore I will hope in him,” says Lamentations 3:23-24.

My hope is built on nothing less.