Finding Hope in the Darkest of Places

Sarah Rodriguez

I will never forget the day the doctors sat me down and said, “There is no hope for your husband to live.”

That moment brought me to my knees.

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My husband Joel had been diagnosed with kidney cancer at the young age of 32. We fought hard for his life, doing every treatment under the sun to try to rid his body of the cancer. He beat it once, but then it returned far more aggressively. We then made the difficult decision to proceed with surgery in an effort to remove the cancer from his lung. After the surgery he had a series of strokes that left him debilitated and fighting for his life.

I fought with and for him, begging God to spare his life, because I couldn’t do mine without my husband.

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Then came the above moment with the doctor. Though they proved to be true, hearing his words were a dagger to my heart. Joel died at the age of 35, leaving me as a young widow and a newly single parent.

But that’s not all.

SEE ALSO: When God’s Grace Meets Our Pain

After his death, my two-week-old daughter Ellis contracted bacterial meningitis and was placed on a ventilator to keep her alive. The meningitis spread rapidly and couldn’t be controlled even with a litany of drugs. Day by day she got worse. I was still bearing the scars of losing my husband, and now here I was again begging for an ever-elusive miracle.

Then came another conversation that left me reeling, this time with a different doctor, at a different hospital. They sat me down and told me the words I had feared since the moment we arrived: “There is no hope for your daughter. She will die.”

Those words were a punch in the gut after everything we had endured. I felt so defeated. I didn’t have much fight left in me, and it seemed Ellis didn’t either.

Days later the moment came where we had to remove her from the ventilator that was keeping her alive. Before all of the cords came off, I ducked in the bathroom for a quick moment and said a life-altering prayer.

“God, if there is any way at all, please spare her life. 30 days with her is not enough.”

Hope was all but lost, but somewhere, deep down inside, it had not left me.

Miraculously, God did choose to spare her life. The baby girl who was given “no hope” is now a 22-month-old wonder, living, learning and thriving.

When the doctors said “no hope,” what they really meant was they believed there would not be the resolution I had so desired. In one case they were right about that, and in one case they were wrong. But in both cases they were incorrect when they told me there was no hope.

Hope is the place where your expectations are centered. My hope is in the Lord.

Life’s moments can take us to the lowest of lows. My prayers were not answered in the way I had longed for with my husband, a devastating fact to this day. Yet still, I hope.

There is has never been and will never be a moment where there is “no hope.” That is because there is never a time where He is not present and near.

My hope is in the One who will always keep His promise to me. That is how I was able to keep moving forward, living with determination and anticipation for my future.

I hope in One who has always been faithful and true. He has kept His promise to right every wrong, to redeem and restore. And He has taken our ashes and made them beautiful, like only He can do.

Hope rises, hope endures. Hope is a gift to push us through the present pain and on to our future redemption.

We are never without hope, because we are never without Him.

Sarah Rodriguez is an author, speaker and blogger at www.journeyofsarah.com and for The Huffington Post. Her life’s greatest role is that of Mommy to Milo and Ellis. Her memoir, From Depths We Rise, will release on October 1, 2016.

Publication date: October 4, 2016

Image courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com

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