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Held


Photo Credit: Benjamin Joyce

(By Rachel Joyce)


As we prepared to leave for my dad’s appointment at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, I fished through my pencil case for a pen to take with me so I could record all the specialists had to say. I drew out my Hope*writer’s pen and smiled. Yes. This was exactly what I needed.


My Hope*writer’s pen was for writing words of hope. And words of hope were what my family needed.


The previous report had not been good; the doctors in Augusta had told us that because of his type of cancer, there was nothing they could do for him. But we refused to give up, so we were going for a second opinion. Despite the fear and hope wrestling within me, God’s Word provided a sure foundation for my feet:


God is with us every step of the way, holding our hand and strengthening us. He is our shield and our protector. He will not allow anything into our lives that He cannot use for His glory and our blessing. He is good and does good no matter what. Even if loss and grief are ours, He will keep us from going under and will hold us with His everlasting arms until we see His beautiful face.


Armed with these truths, I picked up my notebook — the one with the pink cover and gold lettering which read, “Be joyful always” — and my Hope*writer’s pen.



Joy can survive, even when our hearts are breaking. And hope can hold us strong, even when all seems lost.


Rare cancer. Low survival rates. Possible cure. Radiation necessary. Sorrow and hope intermingled.


It will be a long, painful journey. We cannot see the end. But we know our God can, and He holds us tenderly, whispering words of love and hope to sustain us.


His comfort will soothe our aching hearts. His strength will help us to be strong, even when we feel so weak. His love will bolster our faith.


This “middle of the journey” place is a unique place. It’s where we yearn, fight fear, pray, and seek to trust more than we ever thought possible. It’s where our hearts feel raw and our cheeks are wet with tears more often than not.


But it’s also a sacred place of glory, where faith grasps God’s hand more firmly. It’s where God’s presence can feel more real than it ever has before. It’s where the light of hope wrestles with the darkness of despair and refuses to give up. In this place, we are held.