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This Is a Story of Hope

February 3, 2021 by Molly Johnson (North Carolina, USA)
Molly's 52nd birthday in 2018. Her mother,
Carolyn, is presenting her with a cake.

It’s a story of how God’s love light shines brightest during the darkest of days.  A story of being suddenly caught in a raging storm.  Of ominous, steely clouds and lashing rains and buffeting winds.  And then, during the height of this storm, it’s a story of how Jesus showed up and showed me his limitless love.  When gale force winds toppled me over and drove me to my knees, God revealed his perfect purpose for my life.  It’s a story of God’s plans to give me a hope and a future.           

My personal hurricane made a shocking and unexpected landfall on December 1st, 2017, with a terminal cancer diagnosis.  The prognosis was grim.  At just 50 years old, I was told I most likely wouldn’t make it beyond my 51 years old.  Happiness gave way to heartache.  Dreams gave way to despair.  I felt unmoored.  Wave after wave of devastating test results threatened to capsize what little hope I had left. 

I began chemotherapy.  The doctor warned of limited treatment outcomes, with only about a thirty to forty percent chance of success.  My family, friends, church, and Emmaus community loved me and prayed for me.  In my weakness and discouragement, I reached out to Jesus, grasping hold of the hem of his robe and hanging on for dear life.

After several rounds of grueling chemotherapy, I went for my latest CT scan. When I walked into the exam room to learn the test results, the doctor pointed to my x-ray on the computer screen. 

“We don’t normally see this, Molly,” he said smiling, “But you’ve responded unusually well to the treatment.  You’re in remission. ”

Praise God!  I felt that I had been tossed a life preserver and an anchor. “He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed” (Psalm 107:29, NIV).  Hope was on the horizon.

And hope turned into compassion. Which led to a desire to comfort my fellow brothers and sisters suffering with cancer.  In my Upper Room devotional, “God’s Comfort,” I shared how I became a volunteer driver for an organization offering cancer patients free car rides to treatment.  Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has placed a pause on this service for now.

But God has shown me another way to serve during these difficult times.  God has called me to the mission field.  Not to any far-off place, but to the waiting room at the Cancer Center.  I still go to the Cancer Center every few weeks for maintenance chemo, or what I like to call “my tune up.”  During the pandemic, no visitors are allowed.  This means cancer patients face procedures and treatments all alone — such anguish, such isolation.  So while seated in the waiting room, I simply offer a friendly smile or perhaps a word of encouragement.  I’ve found that when people are scared and hurting, they are open to talking and listening.  About God’s comforting presence and loving care.  About Jesus’ promise for the eternal hope of heaven. “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die” (John 11:25).

My cancer journey continues.  It’s been hard, and I’ve shed many heartbreak tears, but I can see God’s hand in it.  God is using me to shine his love light to others during their darkest of days.  There is hope to be found, even in the midst of a turbulent storm.

And I’m getting ready to celebrate a birthday.  My fifty-fourth.  I’m so grateful.           

This is a story of hope.


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The Upper Room magazine's mission is to provide a practical way to listen to scripture, connect with believers around the world, and spend time with God each day.

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I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.” 

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