Finding Hope in a Spiritual Winter


No one wants to be diagnosed with cancer, especially in the middle of a foreign country, with another language, and in a completely different medical system. As the news became grimmer and grimmer in the coldest, darkest part of the Siberian winter, my question to God was not so much, “Why me?” but, “Really?” As I Googled my diagnosis, phrases like “less than 5 to 6 months”, “less than 20% survive the first year”, and “do you immediately call hospice after diagnosis” struck me. But one phrase stuck out more than the others, “do not give up hope.” 

How does one find hope, even as a believer, in the darkest hour? We all know we should trust Jesus, but what does it look like in the Job moments of life?  

Most know the story from Sunday School class in Daniel 3 where Shadrach, Meshack, and Abendigo were thrown into the fiery furnace. These young men were unyielding in their faith, and after declaring their confidence in God’s ability to save them (18) declared, “But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” Living overseas for so many years, I often thought about their courage in facing the fire. I love their confidence knowing this life and all its trials are temporary.  

These guys were the real deal. They leaned into their faith, because they had seen God work over and over in the foreign land that He had brought them into. They knew and trusted that God could save them, but even if He did not, they would not surrender their faith. 

God did not prevent Shadrach, Meshack, and Abendigo from being thrown in the fire, but met them in the fire. I had asked God to heal my cancer (you know, *poof*, and it’s gone), but by taking me through the fire, people from all over the world have witnessed Jesus since my diagnosis over a year ago on January 23rd.

In Siberia, there is a day in February when you walk outside, the sun shines bright. The temperature is still frigid, but you start to feel the tiniest bit of warmth on your face. That moment always gave me so much hope that the Siberian long, cruel winter would end and the sun would be the victor again. No matter what cold and difficulties we face, we need to keep walking towards the Son. He has the power to overcome the coldest and darkest days. But even if He doesn’t, we still praise Him.  

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