From Despair To Radiant Hope

despairHow can God take moments of despair and still point us toward hope? Jackie shares.

“I saw the Lord always before me. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will live in hope…” (Acts 2:25b-26).

Late in the fall and winter of 2009 to the spring of 2010 I was hospitalized several weeks. I underwent 6 surgeries, resulting in the removal of my colon and treatment of an abscess which nearly took my life. Following the abscess, I experienced 2 weeks in the dark, unrelenting grasp of delirium.

I don’t remember anything except for the most horrific dreams. Later I was told I hit one nurse and scratched another. I was mortified.

But God had this terrific surprise in store for me. As I emerged from the delirium, I noticed that my hospital room was an amazing wonderland.

Pictures of my loved ones lined the walls of the bleak hospital room. Since it was Christmastime, the warm glow of a little Christmas tree lit up the room. Next to the tree were other familiar objects that had special meaning such as a stuffed animal and a silk flower arrangement of little rosebuds.

I felt wrapped in a blanket of comfort and love.

My children searched the internet for delirium and learned that the patient’s room should be decorated with happy, familiar objects. This outpouring of their overwhelming display of love continues to be a gift to me. It reminds me of God’s surprises and the fact that He delights in showering me with good things that warm my heart.

Yes, there are times when the rug is pulled out from under us and life is dark. I have always emerged from those times having developed a greater intimacy with my Lord, greater strength, and an unmistakable knowing that God was always near.

It’s in the darkest hours that true transformation can take place. What my children did for me is a reminder of emerging from such extreme darkness to a display of love that still gives me goose bumps.

Prayer: Father, how gracious You are. Even in the midst of great suffering You are our strength, our hope, and, yes, even our joy. In the midst of our sorrow You are prepared to show us Yourself in the most loving ways. Thank You. Amen.

About the author:
Jackie Smith is from Knoxville, TN near the beautiful Smoky Mountains. She struggles with Sjogren’s Disease and migraine headaches. Jackie had a bilateral mastectomy over 25 years ago. A few years ago she had her colon removed necessitating a permanent ileostomy. She has her master’s degree in Child and Family Studies. Between her and her husband of 35 years there are 5 children and 12 grandchildren who provide much joy. Jackie loves sharing the rich experiences God has lavished upon her.

When was the last time despair turned to radiant hope for you?

If you haven’t had a personal experience yet of God turning your despair into hope, ask Him for it. Anticipate it. He wants to work in our lives and to see we have open hearts to acknowledge His gifts. This is Peter Furler singing “Hold On” Peter Furler and I think the lyrics will encourage you today. Hugs, -Lisa