Hope Against Hope, Part 1

I’m so glad to be able to thank each and every one of you who have prayed for me this year. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I’m convinced I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for your prayers.

I also want to praise the Lord for all He has done for me over the past year and a half. It’s been an incredible journey and I’ve learned so much more about His faithfulness.

It all began a year ago January (2013), when I was told I had “malignant melanoma” of a mucous area in my nose (not a skin cancer) and that if I didn’t do certain things (like letting them take my face off) I would die within a few months. But the Lord had other plans for me and that’s the story I want to tell you. I want to encourage you that if He can do these things in my life, He can also do them in yours.

My story begins four years ago when I set out to write a book on the subject of “hope,” not only because I saw it as an essential part of the Christian life, but also because I saw many believers struggling in this critical area. So, it seemed like a very timely subject. It took me a year to write the first 300 pages, but even then I knew in my spirit that something was missing. It was not complete. Even when I took the manuscript into The King’s High Way Ministry for a review, they were all very sweet and kind, but told me the very same thing — “something is missing. It’s not complete.”

So I put the manuscript aside, prayed, and asked God to show me what exactly was missing. The Lord faithfully answered my prayer by showing me that what was missing from that manuscript was “personal experience.” (I had written that first manuscript sitting on the shores of a New Zealand river, with no worries at all. Well, you can’t write a book from your “head” –you need to have “personal heart experience” of the subject and I really didn’t have that at the time.)

So God allowed me to go through my own Valley of the Shadow of Death so that I could personally experience what it means to have “hope against hope.”

My Story

My new book Hope Against Hope will give you all the details of how I got the cancer, how Mayo Clinic heard about my case and agreed to take me as an experimental patient (because my kind of cancer was so rare — 1 in 100,00), how I’ve had three huge operations where they literally replaced the septum of my nose and gave me a new nose; and finally, how the melanoma has come back four or five times. But, in these articles for Personal Update I really wanted to concentrate on the part of the book that focuses on the subject of Hope — what exactly hope is; why it’s so important, we we lose it and how we can regain it back.

But, before we start, I want to be totally up front with you. Please don’t think of me as some kind of saint, a flawless or perfect Christian. Certainly, I am not! I’ve had so much pain and anxiety, discouragement and doubt, worry and confusion this past year, that like Job, I’ve cried out many times to the Lord, “Why have You forsaken me?” Like Job, I just didn’t understand what was happening to me.

I had such huge expectations (remember the word EXPECTATIONS) of what the Lord was going to do through my illness (and because of all the prayers), that I was devastated when things didn’t happen that way. I believed with all my heart that God would somehow do a “miracle” — either I would be supernaturally healed or I would lead many others to Christ or somehow lots of “fruit” would be produced. So, I was absolutely crushed when all these things didn’t occur.

Rather than draw people towards the Lord, which is what we had hoped would happen, just the opposite occurred. Nurses kept getting offended at us; doctors were often sarcastic and belittling and rather than develop a relationship with these people like we wanted, they fled from us. It was so strange. It was like the enemy had this huge inroad and monstrous stronghold and he wasn’t going to give it up for anything.

So in the midst of this spiritual battle, it became very difficult for me “to see” the Lord’s Hand at work and to trust His faithfulness, which then affected my confidence that He was still involved and still working.

And, of course, I couldn’t stand to look in the mirror. The horror that I saw was overwhelming. Philippians 3:8 tells us to: “…count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ.” I thought I had done that before! I’ve said that verse a hundred times, but this time it had taken on a whole different physical meaning and was so difficult to say and mean (Luke 22:42; Mark 14:33-3).

Now, I wish I could say that I sailed through all my operations and procedures like a “trooper.” But, here again, I didn’t, which of course added to my confusion and doubt. I was sick to my stomach most of the time, not only from the surgery, but also from the medications they gave me afterwards. I experienced nausea, dizziness, sinus headaches, and congestion, double vision, infection, diarrhea, constipation, heart pain, mouth rash (from air tubes), boils, and inflamed gums. You name it, I had it! I again though a lot about Job during this time.

Became Hopeless

So, yes, I can now say that over the last year and a half, I have “personally experienced” hopelessness in a a variety of ways. Emotionally (I’ve been separated from all the people I know and love — my husband, my children, my family), physically (It’s been the hardest year of my life — more pain than I’ve ever experienced), mentally (I’ve lost the vision Chuck and I had for New Zealand) and spiritually (I’ve lost the daily blessing of being with my spiritual family).

When you lose your hope, you not only lose your grounding and mooring for the present, you also lose your vision and your dreams for the future. My daughter phrases it this way: “You don’t die if you lose your ‘faith’; but, you die if you lose your ‘hope.'”

The Problem

What I didn’t realize at the time, was that by my holding onto my own expectations and my own presumptions of what God was going to do and how He was going to do it, I prevented Him from showing me His own Handprint of Love in my situation. And thus, I found it very difficult to go on.

Now, we all have expectations and presumptions — it’s characteristic of our own self-centered human nature. This, in itself, is not sin. However, if our expectations are not fulfilled in the way we think they should be, those expectations can lead us to disappointment and doubt, which is sin and which will end up quenching God’s Spirit in us. And, that’s exactly what happened to me.

Here’s where the confusion comes in for many of us (and where the enemy has an absolute field day). We get a promise from God and we interpret it in our own way, but when it doesn’t materialize in the way we thought, we get confused and discouraged and of course, fall right into the enemy’s hands. It’s not that God has been unfaithful to us, it’s that we have jumped to our own conclusions and our own interpretations. No wonder we then don’t see God’s Hand in our situation.

There’s two ways of looking at God’s promises: we can either have our expectations and our hopes on what we think God is saying and what we think He is going to do; or, we can have our expectations and our hopes only upon God’s faithfulness to answer our prayers in His timing and His way.

It was only when I began to “let go” of my own interpretation and my own expectation of what God was going to do and how he would do it, and instead, grab hold of the fact that God will be faithful to me no matter what happens, that I began to have some victory in my life.

Scripture tells us that the only way Moses endured his trials and the darkness in his life, was by daily “seeing the Lord who is invisible in the midst of the fire.” (Hebrews 1:27) This is the KEY! Moses saw God’s faithfulness in the middle of his trials, which then gave him the hope to carry on.

“Hope against hope” means exactly that — thrusting God’s faithfulness to fulfill His promises in His timing and in His way. This is the lesson the Lord has taught me this past year and the reason I have been able to make it thus far.

The question becomes: “How do we learn to have this kind of hope?” This is what we pray our new book Hope Against Hope will help to explain.

 

by Nancy Missler
©2014 The King’s High Way Ministries, all rights reserved
www.KingsHighWay.org

 

Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies of this document, provided they do not change it AND all copies include the following: by Nancy Missler, ©The King’s High Way Ministries, www.KingsHighWay.org, Used by Permission


Comments

Hope Against Hope, Part 1 — 12 Comments

  1. Dear Nancy,
    Thank you for the words of inspiration through a dark time. I have learned so much from your and Chuck’s ministry and grown in understanding of my Blessed Messiah. So glad I found you and pray for you and your family. God bless you all.

  2. Dear Nancy

    Thank you for your honesty and faithfulness. This speaks exactly to me at the moment. I’ve been praying for you and your family; you and Chuck have been great blessings in my life.
    Kathy

  3. Nancy hello and may our DEAR LORD CHRIST JESUS BLESS you. I watch your husband on U Tube often and appreciate his ministry. His teaching has helped me to know the Lord and him Me more abundantly…. Your words of hope really touch my very Spirit…. I Know well what your talking about……experience after all is what it’s all about ultimately….Our
    god given experiences for our benefit….sometimes takes a good turn around to see… Thank you Jesus my savior.
    Prayers for you and Chuck……and a Thank You from this woman… God Bless us ALL!
    THANK YOU DEAR LORD MY ONE KING

  4. Dear Nancy,
    Thanks so much for being a light in the darkness. I am a critical care nurse, and have seen and experienced your circumstances too many times. It is heartbreaking, but please know your faith has not gone unnoticed by many and many seeds were planted by your faithfulness. You have endured more than many will ever know. You have blessed so many by your love. Your Agape love has been an inspiration to all that come in contact with you. Thanks for being such a blessing to my life. I have given your book to many of my sisters and they have been blessed mightily by your obedience.

    In His Love,

  5. Dearest Nancy,
    You are so precious, and yes, “personal heart experience” is critical. In our darkest times your ministry tapes have strengthened us and fed us when other ministries seem trite and irrelevant. Dear brave lady, thank you for allowing the Lord to use your battles, your honesty, and your victories to strengthen the Body of Christ in these dark days. I look forward to seeing His master plan fulfilled in your life and ours. You are constantly in our prayers. Keep on keeping on!
    With great love
    Cynthia

  6. Dear Sister-in-Christ Nancy,

    Your story has brought strength to me this morning. I was struggling, and asked the Lord for help. Then I came across your story which has encouraged me. Your ministry is bearing fruit internationally that you don’t know about. The Lord is using the sharing of your experiences to edify and strengthen others.

    Grace to you,

    Joyce (Scotland)

  7. Dear Nancy, I also have prayed for your victory over this time of trial, but in recent days have lost my way in the very manner you describe, due to problems that probably pale into insignificance compared to yours; but today The Lord led me to this site as He was having difficulty in breaking through my understanding, and has shown me the answer.
    I thank The Lord for your message of hope, and I pray that you will receive your healing in Gods good time.
    Love in Christ
    Michael

  8. I praise God for all he has done in you and for your willingness to share. I have just finished “Why Should I Be The First to Change” and it was such a blessing! It is a blessing for me personally but even more it is a resource I will be using with my patients. I am a psychiatrist in the Dallas area and since I am a Christian I have many patients who are Christians. Marital issues are a common theme and when people are hurting it is often hard to get them to listen to just what scripture says. People are often more impacted by a personal story and yours is so great!

    My husband and I have been listening to Chuck’s teaching for several years now and have been so blessed. We even went to the conference in Idaho two years ago, but this is the first thing of yours I’ve read and now I know why Chuck is always talking about you! I plan to order copies of your other books. Bless you and your ministry and I will be praying for you. Thanks for all you do.

  9. Hi Nancy,

    I have been following your journey always praying for you and your family. Never understanding the depth of your trust in God. Today after reading your letter I began to understand a bit. I am looking forward reading your book
    May God continue His work in you.

  10. Dear Nancy,

    You have been in my prayers! Years ago God gave me Romans 15:13 and I pray this for you.
    “May the God of HOPE fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with HOPE by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

    You have traveled with me many times on my drive to work in the mornings by listening to your CD’s. You are a wonderful teacher and God has used you in the different seasons of my life to help me apply His word to my life. I have been learned so much by your books. I can’t wait to get your new one on HOPE. It is so relevant for the times in which we live!

    I have been so blessed by you!
    Joyfully in Christ!
    Connie

  11. You have said in your books how God’s ways are so much bigger than we can think or know. HE is Love and we can trust what HE allows to happen in our life. Trust and hope to Him who is FAITHFULL. Christ in us the hope of glory. Praying the Lord’s perfect will is done in your life. Thank you for sharing your tribulation and how the Lord has worked in your life, it means so much to so many of us.

  12. Dear Nancy,
    Thank you for sharing your situation and life with all of us. What you say about our expectations of what the answer to our prayers will look like, is so true. Please know there are many, many people who know the Lord in a deeper way because of your faithful work. We love you and will continue praying for you and your family. God Bless you all. With great love, Irene

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