Finding Hope in God’s Word

When you are told you have cancer, your mind goes in a million different directions, instantly…

Where did it come from?
How long has it been there?
What can I do about it?
Can I beat this?
Will I need chemotherapy?
What does this mean for my family?
What does my future look like?
What if…

If you’re not careful, your thoughts can take you to a very dark and lonely place, and it can happen very quickly.

hope-Gods-word

In the days following my diagnosis, it was very difficult to remain focused on anything except the fact that I was now facing cancer. Everywhere I looked I saw people who (as far as I could tell) were not facing cancer, and it just didn’t seem fair. It was a constant struggle to not allow my thoughts to run rampant. I knew that focusing on such thoughts only led to worry and anxiety. And that did nothing for my state of mind, or for my family. I had to get ahold of my thoughts.

Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (Philippian 4:8).

When we focus on what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy, we experience God’s peace.

While it was important to inform myself of my diagnosis and explore my options, it did me no good to worry about the outcome. I had to balance my intake of overwhelming, often discouraging, information with what I know to be true and right…the Word of God.

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5).

Here are some ways I found to help myself focus on God’s Word and His promises rather than the anxiety of my situation:

1. Read Scripture. I’d like to say my Bible reading was consistent before I faced cancer, but in reality, the demands of day-to-day life often crowded it out. Suddenly, I was desperate, and I needed to hear from God. Bible reading became a priority once again.

Don’t know where to start in reading Scripture? Read through Psalms. The Psalmist faced some serious, life-threatening circumstances and, remembering God’s faithfulness throughout his life, called on God for help. (Much more encouraging than the “begats!”)

2. Write Scripture. As I came across passages I needed to cling to, I printed them out (or just wrote them on notepaper) and taped them to my mirror, my refrigerator, in my car…anywhere I knew I would see it daily to remind myself of God’s Word and His promises.

3. Memorize Scripture. I’ve never been so thankful for all those memory verses I learned in Sunday school and at youth camp. If you didn’t grow up in church, it’s not too late to start memorizing Scripture. Find a verse that means a lot to you and repeat it to yourself over and over until you remember it. I have quoted entire sections of Psalms while getting MRIs and PET scans. Nothing calms the nerves like the promises of God! (Tip: Receive a set of 10 Scripture Printables when you subscribe to There Is Grace. Enter your e-mail address in the sidebar for more info!)

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. (Isaiah 26:3)

{Disclaimer: I realize some people struggle with depression. I am not a doctor. While I believe there is great power in God’s Word, I do not believe quoting a few verses will solve everyone’s problems. If you struggle with depression, please consult a respected physician or counselor.}

hope-cancer-250This post is part of the series, Embracing Hope, where we look at why we can put our hope in God, how we put our hope in God, and what we can do when it feels all hope is lost. To view the entire series, click here.

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Plus: Read the full story of my journey through cancer to healing in Unshakable: Finding Faith to Weather the Storm. Available now at Amazon.

10 thoughts on “Finding Hope in God’s Word

  1. Great tips, Nancy! It is imperative when we are facing challenging situations, for us to focus on HIM and not our struggles and problems however big they may be! And there is so much power in His word. I love the verse, “set your mind on things above, not on earthly things.” It’s so important, and it’s the only way that we can have peace or comfort in this life.

    PS–I’ve always loved Philippians 4:8. I love the fact that it follows Philippians 4:6-7…”be anxious in nothing but in everythingby prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, submit your requests to God and the peace that passes all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”…they really do go hand in hand. Praying that you will continue to be comforted and encouraged through this.
    Crystal @ Serving Joyfully recently posted…10 Best Board games for LearningMy Profile

  2. Nancy,
    I am so grateful to read your thoughts as I can relate to them so well. I too found myself meditating on the Psalms after my diagnosis. While I was going through treatment, I started reading When Your World Falls Apart by David Jeremiah. He takes a few of the Psalms and picks them apart with the perspective of going through cancer treatment himself. It was amazing for me.

    Praying for you! Write On!

  3. Nancy,
    What you have shared here is so very important. Our thoughts are so powerful, they can lead us further into despair or we can choose to take them captive, making them obedient to the gospel of Christ, and therefore be brought into His perfect peace. I’m a big advocate of taking every thought captive. It’s a big way of keeping depression at bay. (Please don’t read this to say that you can control depression by thinking good thoughts, it’s much deeper than that.)
    When we bring our thoughts into submission, it gives God the control and gives Him space to come in and make himself known. It isn’t easy but it’s imperative!
    Beth Cranford recently posted…Your Skills, Talents, and ExperiencesMy Profile

  4. Great blog post. Thank you for sharing. What incredibly important words you shared! What a great reminder in our dark times and the way to find peace in the midst of the storm.

    We are from the link up at Deep Roots at Home. It is so nice to meet you. Would love to have you over to our place at http://rosevinecottagegirls.blogspot.com and thelifeofanotsonormalamericanteenager.blogspot.com sometime. My sister and I blog there together. We are new followers on FB.
    Blessings!
    ~ The Rosevine Cottage girls

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