When You’ve Lost All Hope

Description

Sheree DeCouto compares her struggle and loss of hope during her battle with cancer to the prophet Elijah and his dramatic shift in life-changing events.

It was the darkest night of my life. I was tired of fighting. I looked at my husband and said, “I just want to die.” It seemed to me that if I died God couldn’t ignore me any longer. If I showed up in heaven He would have to face me. As far as I was concerned cancer had won, I had lost all hope.

Just a few months earlier I was on top of the world. My family life was great and my ministry was growing. I had spoken to my largest audience to date and afterward a colleague had told me that I was on top of my game. Yes all was well just a few months prior.

Where was God when I needed Him the most?         

I didn’t see it then, but the similarities to my situation and that of the prophet Elijah were very similar. When reading his story one can’t help but notice a dramatic shift in events. In one chapter Elijah is on top of his game, calling down fire from heaven and the return of rain after a three and a half year drought. But in the very next chapter he is afraid of a threat made by one woman, running for his life and begging God to let him die.

Where was God when Elijah needed Him the most?

As Elijah’s hopeless story unfolds God sends an angel to feed him giving him strength for his journey. In the midst of his deepest pain Elijah hears God whispering a question, “What are you doing here Elijah?”

How could a man of such great faith loose his hope so quickly? How could I have lost mine so quickly? What was I doing there… at a place of total despair.

Elijah’s answers God with the facts of his predicament.

“I have been very zealous for you. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me.” 1 Kings 19:10

Perhaps it’s because I’ve been in Elijah’s shoes, but there is an underlying tone in his answer that suggests the real reason he was in a place of despair. Elijah’s comparison between his own zealousness for God and the Israelites rejection of Him points to his expectation of a different outcome than he was experiencing.

I say this because I felt my zealousness for God deserved a different outcome than I was experiencing. I wound up in a place of total despair because of wrong expectations. Mistakenly I had thought that since I had been I good girl I deserved better.

While I couldn’t see where God was in the midst of my battle with cancer, my husband could. That dark night when I uttered the words, “I just want to die,” my sweet husband set me straight. He reminded me of the many ways God had shown up in the hands and feet of others who had stepped up to help us in our time of need.

No, God didn’t show up the way I expected and I’m glad he didn’t. Today I’m able to see clearly that my wrong expectations kept me from seeing the truth in my predicament.

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