Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A prescription for hope

Desperation led me, once again, to my doctor's doorstep. At my wits end with my ongoing digestive dilemma I begged him for help. This certainly wasn't my first trip to the doctor in search of answers for the malabsorption that has caused my unintentional weight loss and inability to put on a single pound. The weight is only half of the saga. Life altering, debilitating digestive distress is a far less visible yet profound trouble I've carried with me every day for over six years.
The trip to the doctor went like so many before it. He listened intently, furrowed his brow and reviewed pages of blood work. Liver, kidneys, thyroid. Normal, normal, normal. He reviewed my eating and lifestyle habits only to conclude that none of this makes any sense. My little body shouldn't be so little. There is something standing in the way of thriving. But what is that something? Six years have passed and still the mystery is as perplexing as ever.
Determined to help me find relief, the doctor wrote out another prescription for another pill. With equal parts gratitude and skepticism I thanked my doctor for his attentiveness and commitment to helping me solve my mystery. I left his office with a prescription on paper and plenty of internal doubts.
Pills have failed me before. A pill isn't a cure. It is a band-aid aptly applied to the most obvious problem area. But even heavy-duty band-aids fall off someday. For healing something more needs to be beneath the band-aid.
Each time I hit a wall of frustration I run to the doctor and he hands me another pill. And each pill has failed me, body and soul. It hasn't fixed my physical ailments. The pills have only provided me with an emotional band-aid. With my new pill I can cope, if only for a while. I can have hope, even if it is only halfhearted and skeptical.
But I've learned that hope in a band-aid isn't hope at all. It will always fall off and leave me disappointed, despondent and emotionally exhausted.
True, lasting, enduring hope is found in knowing that God has a plan even when I don't understand it. Hope is trusting that God is always good, even when I feel badly. Hope is looking forward to Heaven. Hope is knowing that this life is imperfect but Jesus is flawless. Hope is believing that the lasting, final cure is found on the cross and not in a doctor's office.
When I put my hope in a pill, a cure or a diagnosis I will always be disappointed. Nothing in this life - not even perfectly functioning bodies - can provide eternal, enduring hope. But Christ has my hope secured and in Him, not a pill, I will not be shaken.

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