Throughout my journey with UC, I have clung to hope. Sort of two kinds of hope. There was hope in the sense of "I want this to happen, but maybe it won't." Hope that one day, things would be different. Hope that I'd be able to be a doctor, finish college, finish the semester, finish the day. I wore a sweatshirt with "hope" embroidered on it to every Remicade infusion. It was a mute testament to my yearning for this treatment to work and keep the UC at bay.
In the picture, you can see the necklace I wear, which also represents hope and perseverance. Summer before last, I was working and taking Physics. One day, I was really ill. My tummy was going nuts. I became so dehydrated that the world was spinning. I could barely stand up and was shaky. My stomach was raw and crampy. There was no way I could make it to class. I'd just get notes from a friend. But I also had lab, and I couldn't make it up if I missed. So during the time I was supposed to be in class, I chugged Gatorade, took a ton of Lomotil, and tried to nap. My stomach settled down, but I still felt pretty awful. I dragged myself to lab. As I trudged to lab, eyes on the ground, concentrating on walking in a straight line, the July sun glinted off something shiny. Since I have a 5-year old's obsession with shiny things, I stopped to look. It was a little charm. I picked it up, and wear it now as a symbol of tenacity and not quitting and pressing on even when things are really hard. And of hope, hope that God will allow me to succeed as I pursue the desires He's given me.
So that's the first kind of hope - the "I really hope this will happen" hope. I also have a sure hope, a hope that doesn't disappoint. Hope that God would give me the grace to endure whatever He put in my path. Hope that He'd guide me where I was supposed to be, even if that meant hospitals and doctors and suffering. Hope that I'd honor Him.
Romans 5:3-5 talks about this kind of hope.
"And not only this,
but we also exult in our tribulations,
knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance;
and perseverance, proven character;
and proven character, hope;
and hope does not disappoint,
because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts
through the Holy Spirit who was given to us."
So, I continue to hope and to rejoice in my tribulations, hoping that this will bring honor to the God who became a man on Christmas and poured Himself out for me. He came to bring hope and peace between God and man. Peter calls Jesus a "living hope," a sure way to have forgiveness from sins and peace with God. Jesus Himself calls for all to "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-30). That's a sure hope that's priceless. It's worth any cost to have rest for my soul, to have this hope in Jesus.