3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you… (1 Peter 1:3-4).

Your doctor is not smiling as he shares the results of recent tests. You hear the devastating words “inoperable” and “terminal.” You ask the inevitable question: “How much time do I have left?” His answer is understandably vague. “With treatment, a year or so; without treatment, six months to a year.” Numbed by this shattering news, you agree to give the doctor your answer in a week or so.

Immediately you have a different attitude toward “little things.” Getting the car tires rotated or painting the deck or going to a ball game — such concerns are now on the back burner. Your mind is filled with bigger questions. Should I agree to the chemotherapy treatment? What must I do to prepare for the end of my life? Am I ready to meet Jesus? Will I be able to handle the suffering that I am facing? If God really loves me, why is He letting this happen to me?

As you wrestle with these heartrending questions, you should know that your terminal illness is not a surprise to your heavenly Father. Knowing this would happen, your Father has provided help for you in this time of testing. You will find help in His Word, the Holy Bible. There you can read an abundance of scriptures that will strengthen your faith and give you hope. For example, the Apostle Peter wrote about “a living hope” to Christians who were being persecuted for their faith in Jesus.

As you read what Peter said, you will realize that your heavenly Father has not left you alone. He comes to you in His Son, who is able to “birth” in your soul a living hope, a hope that is grounded in the past, centered in the future and available in the present.

This living hope’s connection to the past is “through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” His resurrection is no myth. He was dead. God raised him from the dead. He is alive now and forevermore. This is the cornerstone of the Christian faith. Your hope’s future is secure because of the salvation God has promised. Because He lives, you too shall live.

In this present time — while suffering is your lot — your living hope provides you with strength, faith and fortitude. Strength to live fully all the days God gives you. Faith to believe that God can use anything that happens to you for your good and His glory. And fortitude to face with courage whatever you must face.

The living hope of which Peter writes is so essential that, without it, the toys of this world will become, at the last, like sand in your hands. Buoyed by this hope within, your faith can inspire others to seek out the source of your hope, your Lord Jesus Christ. By turning to Jesus, your family and friends can share your joyous hope that beyond this vale of tears, a life of joy and peace, free of suffering, awaits us in the Father’s House.