The Source of My Hope – Malgorzata

I began to reflect on the idea of hope more deeply only when I got seriously sick at the age of 42 and I didn’t know how the disease would end. All my hopes, plans for the future and dreams began melting away. I realized how difficult it was to live when you lose hope. I really wanted to regain it. And now I want to share my searching and its results with all of you who find yourself in a similar situation. I want to tell you the story of how I’ve found hope in suffering and what is the source of my hope, and also to show you that our life, despite all the difficulties and drama that we often experience, can be beautiful, full of meaning and lasting value.

What is hope? A dictionary of the Polish language defines it as “An expectation of fulfillment of something desired, a trust that it’s going to be fulfilled” (Polish Language Dictionary, PWN, Warsaw 1978). We need hope to keep living. When we lose hope, our life loses its meaning.

Wladysław Tatarkiewicz wrote in his book On Happiness (O szczęściu): “He who has any prospects for the future, any HOPE – even if there is nothing in his life that satisfies or pleases him – is not truly unhappy. Only HOPELESSNESS is the true unhappiness.” (Władysław Tatarkiewicz, O szczęściu, Wiedza-Zawód-Kultura, Tadeusz Zapiór i S-ka, Kraków, 1949, str. 114; emphasis of the author).

For the last 14 years I’ve lived in Russia, the country where you often see or experience hopelessness. The difficult history of this nation – at first being dependent on the Asian authorities, then a despotic reign of tsars, and finally 80 years of communism deprived the people of any hope for a better life, of hope that something might change. They don’t fight for any improvement of their situation; they are overwhelmed and live in a spirit of resignation. In other countries – e.g. in the United States of America or in Europe, also in Poland – there is more hope stimulating positive transformations.

Nations and individuals perceive hope differently. A movie “Signs” is a good example of this fact. The film, although not very ambitious and quite simple, carries an important message. The main character is an Episcopal priest who loses his hope when his wife dies in a car accident. Talking with his brother, the priest says: “People divide themselves in two groups. The first one consists of those for whom a good luck is something more than just a coincidence. They see it as a SIGN, a proof that there is someone up there who cares for them. People from the second group perceive it as a pure coincidence, just a smile of fate. Somewhere deep within they feel that whatever happens, they are all by themselves and there’s no one they could count on. And this feeling makes them anxious and fearful. There are people like that. But there is also a significant number of those from the first group. They see miracles in everything that happens around them. Deep inside they feel that whatever happens, there will always be someone who would help them and who would fill them with hope.”

It’s important to ask yourself a question: “Which group do I belong to? Do I see signs and miracles around myself, or maybe I think people are just lucky?” You can also ask it a little differently: “Is it possible that there are no accidents, no coincidences?”

The quoted talk implies that hope of the first group of people is based on a conviction that our life isn’t ruled by blind fate; that there is someone who has everything under control and even if something bad happens, we can expect a good ending.

The movie has a happy ending. The priest recovers his hope. This happy end also proves that the American have more hope that the Polish or the Russian whose movies usually end in a tragic way.

Back to those two groups: which one would you see yourself in? I think I belong to the first one; I’m one of those who see miracles around them, who believe there is someone up there who cares about them, and this conviction fills me with hope. In this testimony I want to present an answer to why I believe in this and where my hope comes from.

My life up to the present has been an example of the fact that nothing happens “just like that.” We find ourselves in various circumstances and situations that seem to be prepared or planned by someone from advance and later used in our lives for some purpose. Although we may perceive a course of events as accidental, the truth is, all of these events form a logical, purposeful whole.

The fact that I graduated from high school with an extended Russian language, and also the fact that later I went to study English, may look like something accidental. However, these two facts played a significant role in my life. Thanks to my command of English I was able to meet some American people and one of them became my husband. As for the command of Russian, I needed it 14 years ago when we moved to live in Russia. It was no accident that I studied Russian and English. MY LIFE IS NOT RULED BY ACCIDENTS.

When I was in high school, I spent a lot of time reflecting on this matter. Human existence, if accidental, seemed to me like a terrible joke. I thought that our situation is much worse than the one of animals, because we realize the nonsense of our life.

German philosopher Hegel stated that “the essence of spirituality is self-awareness. A man is a spiritual creature aiming to find purpose of his existence.” I asked myself if we really could find this purpose. There are many philosophies and different world views. Which of them is right? Is there the one and only, objective truth that could serve as a foundation of your life and which would give you a lasting hope? And maybe those from the second group – those who believe in blind fate – maybe they are right?

I remember when my cousin gave me the Holy Bible with a quote of the conversation of Jesus with Pilate. Pilate asked Jesus: “What is truth?” (John 18:38). It’s interesting that when we moved to Moscow, in one of the art galleries I found a painting entitled with the words of this question, showing a scene of this conversation. For me it was like a subtle proof of the fact that we moved there on purpose. After all, reflecting and pondering on truth and this famous conversation was a leitmotiv of my life.

When I got the Bible, I tried to read it but I didn’t understand much and quickly put it away. After my first year of studying English, my cousin offered me to go to a Christian camp – it was so called “Oasis” – and, interested not in the camp itself but in the place it was to be held (the mountains), I willingly accepted the offer.

It was a breakthrough experience of my life. There I met there some Americans from Campus Crusade for Christ and thanks to them I started a personal relationship with God. I became an interpreter of one of them, and he began our acquaintance with an interesting question: “What would happen to you if you die tomorrow?” I couldn’t answer. I thought about the idea of life after death in terms of a reward or a punishment. I believed I would be rewarded (that is, I would go to heaven) if my good works would outnumber my bad works. But the moment of death seemed to me so distant, so unreal. If somebody told me that at the age of 40 I would struggle with a serious disease – cancer, and that I would actually face death, I would never believe it.

Then, at the camp, I didn’t think about death. For the first time in my life I heard that God loved me and He had a plan for me. But my sins separate me from Him and therefore I can’t fully experience either His love or His plan for my life. Because of my sinful nature, I deserve death, an eternal separation from God. But He loves me so much that He wants to have a close relationship with me and He wants to give me eternal life in His presence. I can become reconciled with God and start a new life with Him, if I accept the death of Jesus for my sins and invite Him into my life. The Holy Bible tells us that Jesus died for us, i.e. in our place, to open the way to God. When we accept our unrighteousness and His substitute sacrifice for us, and when we invite Him into our lives, asking Him to be our Savior and Lord, He forgives our sins and starts a new life in us, a life that will last forever.

Reflecting on those words, I suddenly understood the question my American friend had asked me. It became clear to me that our after-death destination didn’t depend on the number of good works that we’d done, because even the most moral person had a sinful nature which separated him from God. The eternal life with God is a matter of our acceptance of the substitute sacrifice of Jesus for us here, on earth. When we accept it, we receive the eternal life with our loving Father who sent His Son to die for us, so we could live with Him forever in heaven.

The words of Jesus who said about Himself: “I am the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6) really moved me for the first time in my life and gave me a feeling that I reached a safe haven. Here I got an answer to my questions about the truth and the meaning of life. Jesus, the Son of God, appeared to me as an absolute truth, a sign-post and aim. I made a choice to invite Him in prayer into my life, and I received a gift of a personal relationship with Him. And He started to change me and my life.

Just as the camp in the mountains was no accident, it wasn’t an accident that I met these Americans. Their testimonies of life and love for God impressed me deeply and awoke in me a desire to serve God just like them. Following this desire, I began to work for Ruch Nowego Życia right after my graduation. I served God first in Poland, and for the last 14 years in Moscow.

When I look at my life, I can see miracles. I can see how God has been carrying out His plan for me. He gives me many good gifts. I have a loving husband and wonderful children. I travelled a lot and visited many beautiful countries. I have the best job in the world, doing what fascinates me, that is, helping people find the way to God. My moving to Russia, of which I was so afraid, brought many blessings, too. Apart from the job that gives me great satisfaction, I discovered new hobbies – painting and skiing.

All these things are a part of God’s plan for my life. And I’m grateful because through them I can see His care for me. But His plan consists not only of the sweet, but also of the bitter. Our life is a strange combination of good and bad things. And the good and the bad follow parallel tracks.

Like everyone, I also experienced many difficulties and disappointments. Were they accidental? How can we manage when our road becomes bumpy; how can we find hope when our life is full of trials? Should we consider them a bad luck and reach for advice of magicians and fortune-tellers? That’s what the superstitious Russian do. When something bad happens to them, they go to witch doctors to break a spell and “to spread a protective umbrella” over their fate. In this way they try to regain hope and control over their lives. For when something bad happens to us, we grasp different things to not give ourselves in to despair.

There were situations in my life that could have easily taken my hope away, were it not for the fact that I had made a choice to belong to the first group. Do you remember? The group of those who believe in a supernatural care of someone from up there.

The most difficult experience I’ve been through – asking myself a question if there really was someone who cared about me – the experience full of struggle and doubts, was my repeated struggle with cancer.

Eight years ago I found a tumor in my breast. I went to a Russian clinic for foreigners to see a gynecologist. The doctor sent me for mammography but she didn’t read the result of the test correctly. She said the changes in my breast were caused by fibrosis and told me not to worry. What a relief! But when I shared it with my Russian friends, they encouraged me to go to another doctor and get one more opinion. My husband told me the same. I didn’t know who should I turn to, so I opened a phone book and “accidentally” found a doctor specializing in mammography who sent me to further tests.

My husband was in the United States when I was sitting in a hall of a Russian clinic, waiting for the test results. When the doctor came to tell me that I had cancer, I really couldn’t believe my ears. I also couldn’t believe that I was there all alone. What hope could I have in this situation? There was nobody to give me support. Was there anyone up there who cared about me?

Since I’d entrusted my life to God earlier, therefore, finding myself in these difficult circumstances, I turned to Him for help. And I can say that I really experienced His care. Although I was in shock, fear and pain caused by such a serious disease, I could also see God’s work and His plan in all of this. I had a strong feeling that He guided me and saved me from death, leading me to the right doctor for another opinion. American statistics show that one person out of every four would develop cancer. This disease becomes more and more common. But I was only 42 when I got sick for the first time. There had been no such case in my family; I had breastfed three children, so logically I didn’t belong to a high risk group. In some medical book I read that a case such as mine happened once in every 200.000 people.

It only aggravated the situation, and because of an aggressiveness of the tumor, doctors didn’t give me much chance to survive. I was operated and fortunately they didn’t find any cancer cells in lymphatic glands; there was also no metastasis. But when I was waiting for the pathology analysis results, it was like waiting for a sentence – whether I would live or not. I remember I couldn’t sleep that night and prayed to God for some comfort. At that moment these words came into my mind: “God is good and trustworthy.” Comforted with this thought, I fell asleep, and the following day I got good news.

I could also see God’s work and care later when He gave me strength to go through radiotherapy and chemotherapy. During this time we moved three times, living in different places and experiencing various difficulties, smaller or bigger. This period enriched me with some valuable reflections. God used this experience to make me understand how short and how vulnerable our life was. I also realized how wrong it was to think that I exercised full control over my life. I understood that we really didn’t have any power over what was happening.

After the therapy had ended, I got back to my normal life, hoping the disease wouldn’t return. Almost five years had passed since this time and I reached an important moment when doctors say that cancer is in remission. They don’t say the patient is cured, because they really don’t know it. That’s why this disease is so deceitful – you never know whether it would come back or not. Once you’ve developed cancer, you keep living with a thought that it might return, cause metastasis and lead to painful death. It’s hard to live with such constant uncertainty, especially when you’re a mother to three children, charged with responsibility for their lives.

The uncertainty of tomorrow disturb our (that is, the oncology patients’) peace most when we feel some pain. Immediately there’s a thought of the disease – an ordinary sore throat arouses suspicion of something much more severe and keeps us awake at night. Every medical test, every mammography cause fear and uncertainty. However, the more time had passed since I first got sick, the more secure I felt and the more optimism I had for the future.

But the future didn’t bring me the victory I had desired so much. Three years ago I got sick for the second time and it was a much greater shock than the previous one. I just couldn’t believe that one day I felt perfectly healthy and led a normal life, and the following day I found myself among the terminally ill. I say “terminally ill” because I remembered what the doctor had told me – that if I got sick for the second time, it would be a death sentence. But later it proved to be wrong.

We decided on a therapy in the States to be closer to our older children. But we didn’t know anyone in the town; we didn’t know where the hospital was, we didn’t have a place to live. We knew we would have to find new doctors, an apartment and a car, and that we would also have to prepare ourselves to spend much time in the States.

It was a time of maximum stress and dramatic events. But God took care of us – in three days after we’d come to the States, we already had an apartment, a car and we found doctors. In all the fuss full of fear, stress and uncertainty, I remember I could still see God’s intervention – before I discovered the tumor, we could peacefully made it to the end of the school year which was my son’s last year of high school. I was also grateful to God that we’d had time to go on a short family vacation before we were struck by this terrible news.

But when the perspective of another surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy became a reality, I felt like being on shaky ground. In all the turmoil I found myself in, I began to reflect on many things. Although I hoped for a total recovery, I got sick for the second time. So I began to have doubts if there really was someone up there who cared about me. I started to think that maybe my disease was just a bad luck, something that had happened accidentally. Some people told me: “We live in the world full of tragedy and sadness.” It reminded me of an existential maxim saying that some of the features of human life are: worry, fear and death. I heard such words as: “Illness is a natural part of our lives; God has nothing to do with it.” But I thought God really was present in my life – was it possible that anything could happen outside of His control and will? If it was possible, it would mean He either had no control over my life or He didn’t love me.

I was convinced of God’s love thinking about the Passion and death of His only Son. Could I also be sure and convinced of His omnipotence? After all, He could have protected me from the disease, but He allowed it. He could have miraculously healed me, but He didn’t.

In all those doubts about God’s omnipotence I turned to His Word. In the Book of Job we read: “But he stands alone, and who can oppose him? He does whatever he pleases. He carries out his decree against me, and many such plans he still has in store” (Job 23:13-14). These words confirm God’s plan for our lives and lack of accidents in what happens to us. When I was reading the Bible, I could see that God’s omnipotence was more or less openly present on almost every page.

In the Lamentations we read: “Who can seek and have it happen if the Lord has not decreed it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both calamities and good things come?” (L 3:37-38). The Holy Bible teaches us that both good and bad things come from God. Many people resent this truth. It’s hard for them to accept the fact that good God allows adversity and tragedy. They come to conclusion that maybe He doesn’t really exist. When we suffer physically and emotionally, we ask ourselves these kind of questions: Is there a God? Is He omnipotent? Does He love me? Why does He allow my suffering?

I suffered both physically and emotionally. Chemotherapy caused me to feel weak and sick. Doing the simplest thing seemed to be almost unmanageable. Even talking required a big effort. Injections made to increase the level of white blood cells caused irritability. On the one hand I felt weak, and on the other, I was all shaking and trembling, I couldn’t sit still, I couldn’t concentrate, read or watch TV. My hair was coming out massively.

The emotional and spiritual suffering was equally severe. I struggled against the thoughts that if God guided my life, why He allowed all this pain. The thoughts of my disease to be just a bad luck, a decree of fate, were driving me to despair. For if it really was a bad luck, nothing would save me from another misery. I was really lost in all of this. But then I found great help in a book by Jerry Bridges, called Trusting God Even When Life Hurts, in which the author shows God’s control over all situations in our lives.

Jerry Bridges writes about God’s Providence; he says that when we use this word, we usually make a mistake to think about it only in terms of good things. For example, we say: “Providence caused me to find the doctor who cured my child.” We don’t say: “Providence caused me to have a car accident.” When we talk about Providence only in certain circumstances, we believe that God intervenes in our lives as He chooses, from time to time, and most often He’s just an observer. Our attitude shows that either we are architects of our fortunes, or victims of bad luck or bad people.

But from the historic point of view, the Church has always understood God’s Providence in relation to His everlasting care and control over all of the creation. We can define Providence as “a lasting care of God and His total control over the creation, exercised for His glory and for the good of His people.” This definition points to God’s care that never ends, and to His power and control that is absolute. Nothing can escape His control, even the smallest virus.

St Augustine wrote: “Nothing happens unless the Almighty makes it happen. Either He allows it, or He causes it to happen.” Another philosopher stated: “Nothing is too small or too big to escape God’s control. Both a spider weaving his web and the military troops marching to war – all of them are under His control.”

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus said: “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows” (Mt 10:29-31). According to Jesus, God runs everything and controls everything, even life and death of an unworthy sparrow. If He’s in control over sparrows, all the more He controls and cares for His children and their lives! During His earthly existence, Jesus healed the sick and raised the dead. He who created the flesh, undoubtedly has the power to heal it. And He miraculously does it even today.

When reading His word, I realized that my disease, neither the first one, nor the second, had been an accident. It was allowed by the Almighty God who controls my life. But why did He allow it? Here was the second question which I wanted to find the answer to. Why does God allow suffering?

This way of stating the question suggests a certain value system. The system says that the purpose of my earthly life is happiness. And I will strive for it at every cost, doing all I can to satisfy my higher and lower needs. Larry Crabb, in his book Shattered Dreams, writes about it this way: “The problem is that we assume that we are here in this world only to make ourselves comfortable. We want to find pleasure, have a successful life, a good marriage, nice children, lucrative job.” When everything is fine, we don’t think about the final things, we don’t reflect on the future.

Nevertheless, everyone encounters and will still encounter difficulties and will suffer pain. It can be an unhappy marriage or a disappointment related to lack of life partner, rebelling children, tough relationships, financial problems. Many people are in despair over their unfulfilled dreams, suffer from injustice, loneliness or sadness caused by losing someone dear. It’s hard for us to accept this kind of experiences. All of them cause pain and surprise: “Why? Everything was supposed to be fine. Why did it happen to me? If there’s a God and if He loves me and controls everything, then why does He make me suffer and destroy my dreams?”

I guess our rebellion against difficult situations in life results from the fact that we don’t realize why we had been created and what can give us true happiness. God allows suffering, because He wants to tell us: “The life you’ve got is something more than just an opportunity to make your dreams come true.” We believe we need a lot of things to be happy, but the truth is that most of all we need God. Your life is an opportunity to know Him – to know the One who created you so that you could live with Him eternally. You carry His image in yourself, He created you in an unique way for His glory – the glory which can be manifested through the fulfillment of His special plan for your life. The greatest happiness is to know God and to reflect His glory.

It’s only when our dreams don’t come true that we begin to ask decisive questions about the meaning of life, ask if there’s someone who controls it and if there’s someone who cares about us. We begin to look for the answers, and then we find God. Our shattered dreams are the most valuable blessings because they let us uncover the true hope. And this true hope, lasting even among shattered dreams, regardless of circumstances, lies only in God.

I found it again when I struggled with cancer, amidst questions and doubts. Once more I understood I couldn’t base hope only on my earthly life. It’s God who gives the true hope; He is the source of life and the source of hope. He is the God of love, and everything He does is true to His character – full of goodness, wisdom and righteousness. I also understood very clearly that if our earthly life was everything that existed, then our situation didn’t look that funny. Because everything seems to be fine, until one day we hear the words: “You’ve got cancer” and suddenly we feel like being on shaky ground.

Generally we lead our life as if there was no death at all. We dismiss the thought that it can surprise us at any time. We all want a “normal,” happy life: good health, a good job, understanding and support from others. We don’t realize that we’ve been created for something more, that our dreams are too small and our hopes too fragile. God shatters our dreams so that we could come to Him and discover the true purpose of our life and receive the real hope. Without the suffering sent to us by Providence, we don’t become aware of all of that.

God destroyed my desire to be healthy and to enjoy a good shape to let me understand that it wasn’t my health but HIM who was the SOURCE OF HOPE. The hope He gives is something more than a hope for improvement or for recovery, or for better financial perspectives, or for a better marriage. What hope can my friend have whose daughter died in a terrorist act in Israel; or what hope can another friend from Russia have who not long ago found out that the cancer had returned and there was nothing to be done. But facing these tragedies, they both keep trusting God. It’s Him who gives them comfort and support.

I will never forget a conversation that I had with a couple who lost their only son in a car accident. Even in such a great tragedy they didn’t lose their spirit, but still believed in God’s omnipotence and care. It was Him who supported them and who led them through this terrible adversity. On the other hand, a marriage of unbelievers who also lost their only child, deprived of any hope, completely broke down. The hope that only God can give exceeds the limits of tragic events, the limits of earthly life, and leads into eternity.

At the beginning of this essay I mentioned two groups of people. The first group consists of those who see miracles and hope there’s someone up there who can give them support. The second one consists of those who perceive life as a coincidence, who live without any lasting hope. Let’s have a look at the second group.

These people deny the existence of God – someone who controls the world and their fate. They take pride in entrusting their mind and not having to look for hope in God. They are masters of their lives, thinking that in the face of adversity they would somehow manage. An American writer Ernest Hemingway is an example of such a man. He tried to find happiness in this life, but when he used up all of his resources and failed, he killed himself, deprived of any hope. In this group we can also find people who became enslaved by various addictions, like alcoholism or drugs – probably out of lack of hope. But the majority of the group consists of the so called “strong,” tough people who put their trust in themselves and their strengths. They usually live from day to day and only when something really bad happens to them – when they suffer from a tragedy, a terminal disease or any other adversity – they either ask questions to which they cannot find answers, or they keep deceiving themselves.

When I was going through chemotherapy and radiotherapy, I met women from the second group. How did these women, sick with cancer, manage? There method to survive was positive thinking; repeating several times a day: “I’m healthy, I will be cured, I just have to think about positive things and everything will be OK.” This strategy was giving them an illusive hope which eventually was dashed with the return of the disease. In the final moment, in the moment of death, what can the people from the second group hope for?

As I’ve said, I belong to the first group of people. I trust God and rely on His promises. I believe there are no accidents, no coincidences. My disease was not a bad luck. God allowed it and thanks to that experience I understood the true meaning of life here on earth. This life is a gift from God, an opportunity to know Him and to reflect His image in who you are.

A French philosopher and physicist Blaise Pascal said one day: “Life is like a gambling game that you cannot evade. When you assume God’s existence, you don’t lose much – only some intellectual arguments and a way of living rejected by Christianity (mendacity, hatred, etc.) – but you can gain eternal life and endless happiness. On the other hand, when you assume His non-existence, you lose everything and gain little: life of an atheist, full of misery and doubts. Therefore, it pays to assume God’s existence – all the more because you are able to look at the cards of this game (e.g. reading the Bible).”

So let’s look at the cards and see what the Bible says. In His word God promised us eternal life. In the First Epistle of John 5:10-13 we read: “Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart. Anyone who does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”

Today, if someone asked me the same question I had been asked at the camp 25 years ago – what would happen to me if I suddenly died – I would answer: “God says that if I have the Son, I have eternal life. There is no other way, there’s no other hope. He watches over me and He takes care of me. He is God, the Creator of the universe, of all planets and stars, the sky and the earth. He is the Creator of the sun and the rain, day and night, water and fire, animals and people. I owe to Him everything I have. HE IS THE SOURCE OF MY HOPE, the hope not only in this life, but also in afterlife. Having fought two battles against cancer, I live with the thought that I can die from this disease. It can happen in two years from now, or in twenty. However, my faith in God gives me hope that whatever happens, He will take care of me because I’m His child. I won’t die either one minute sooner or later than He will allow.

I also believe my life won’t end at the moment of death. I believe death is the beginning of a new life. An English writer and philosopher C.S. Lewis, author of The Chronicles of Narnia, wrote: “If we discover in ourselves a desire that cannot be satisfied by anything in this world, we should consider that maybe we’ve been created for another world.” (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity). The desire that Lewis is talking about is the desire of happiness which only God can give. He really created us for another world. Our life on earth is only a vestibule to our true apartment.

God promised us eternal life in His Son. He also promised abundant life here on earth for those who know Him. And another promise: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Rom 8:28). He said He would never leave us. All of these promises refer to His children. Did you become His child through a decision to invite Him into your life? If you did, then Jesus, the Son of God, is present in your life and you belong to the first group of people – you can have a lasting hope. On the other hand, as the Scripture says, if you don’t have the Son, you don’t have the life.

Perhaps, when reading this essay you’ve found out that you belonged to the second group, but you’d like to be in the first one – in the group of God’s children, living in a close relationship with Him and finding their hope in Him. Today you can make the decision to belong to this group, to belong to God and find a lasting hope. You can turn to God in prayer, confessing a sin of living according to your own will, a sin of a rebellion, or a sin of indifference to God. You can now accept the fact that Jesus died to take away your sins and to give you access to God. You can invite Him into your heart and become His child. In the Book of Revelation we read the following words of Jesus: “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me” (Rev 3:20).

Lord Jesus is standing at the door of your heart. He wants to be present in your life, to guide you, to help you and to give you a lasting hope. Turn to Him today in a simple prayer and ask Him to come into your heart and change your life. You can do this by saying the following words:

“Lord Jesus, I need you very much. Thank you for dying on a cross and suffering the punishment for my sins. I believe in You, I open the door of my life and accept You as my Savior and Lord. Thank you for forgiving my sins and for the gift of eternal life. Take control over my life and make me the person You want me to become. Amen.”

If you turned to God in such a prayer, you can be sure Christ has come into your heart, He has forgiven your sins and He will never leave you. Even in the most difficult circumstances He will be with you to give you support and hope.

I’m so grateful to Him for His presence in my life and for the way He helps me. It’s been 4 years since my last struggle with cancer and I hope the disease won’t ever come back. However, I often have to do control tests and not long ago the fear looked me in the eye again when some changes were discovered in my lungs. The thoughts about cancer returned and I began to ask people to pray for me. Then one of my friends sent me an article by a well-known Christian writer John Piper, entitled “Don’t waste your cancer.” His look at the disease from a different perspective, his faith and a sound conviction about what’s most important in life, have helped me very much and have given me hope. I encourage you to read the article (you can find it below).

© Copyright 2006 by Malgorzata Stiff