As I listened to the Rognmoe’s story in From The Deep, I began to wonder: how does one go on living when everything is falling apart? How did they fight for their daughters best treatment when the doctors said she’d never recover? And then I wandered deeper in my thoughts… how do soldiers keep going when their legs are riddled with shrapnel? How do people live for weeks in the wilderness, lost and alone?
How do we go on when it hurts?
I don’t think it matters what the struggle is; one tragedy is not worse than another, one struggle not easier than another. Whether its a near-drowning or a really bad divorce, a brush with death on the labor and delivery table or a still-born baby—these are all places where our reality brushes up against faith. Each deep crevice of harsh experience is a place where we face a choice, a choice to give up or go on.
There once lived a man who had everything. And I do mean everything. He had a large and healthy family, a beautiful wife and 7 strong sons. He was wealthy and had a very profitable business prominent in his community. He was well respected and well liked.
And then suddenly, he didn’t.
His business was stolen out from under his nose. His house burned down killing all of his children (luckily his wife was spared), and in the process of loosing it all rumors started and thwarted his reputation. If there ever was a worst day ever, this guy had it.
As he sat in the ashes of his life, his friends (the few he had left) questioned him. (More like interrogated and lectured- but that’s another conversation for another time). As he answered their questions a theme arose, one that undoes me in the face of tragedy.
Job waited on hope.
Several times throughout his story he spells out hope in God no matter the circumstances he faced. Yet, at the same time he declared the goodness of God, he also acknowledged his pain. He didn’t deny the circumstances, or numb himself to them. Instead, he acknowledged them and chose to go on. Job chose life through hope, not circumstances.
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job 1:21
Sitting there in the hospital room with their daughter, Beth Ayn faced the same choice. Do I give up and stop fighting? Do I let the weight of this struggle do me in? Or do I press on, choosing life?
That choice could not be made based on the doctor’s prognosis, nor could it be founded on their daughter’s reactions to treatment. It had to come from somewhere unseen, somewhere outside themselves. It should be noted, that even if the Rognmoes chos to give in and give up, Hannah would have lived. But because they chose hope she not only is breathing with a heart beat- she is thriving beyond what everyone thought possible. Miracles abound in their story because they have waited with hope.
The wounded soldier made it out alive because he hoped in something beyond his injuries. The lost hiker made it back home because he hoped in something beyond the overwhelming forest.
And you and I? We’re gonna make it. We can chose life even when every circumstance around us shouts dead and done. Place hope outside the paycheck and stack of bills. Place hope beyond the words of the argument. Place hope apart from the expressions and reactions of your friends.
We live not by circumstance but by hope.
The book From the Deep: Hope’s Triumph over Tragedy will be available for purchase on September 10, 2017! Click here for more details: www.fromthedeepthebook.com