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Reasons to Hope: God is in the Now and the Not Yet

Photo: Lori Smith

Author, speaker, Lyme disease survivor Lori Smith is an absolute warrior for her valiant fight for hope in the midst of chronic illness and pain. Well acquainted with suffering and grief, Lori’s light comes from a deeper place, transcending earthly experience. My mother lived with chronic pain and clinical depression, and she too had a deep faith. As an observer, I know the struggle is literally moment to moment, changing with the days. To continue to choose faith over fear, and love to cover it all, is utter victory. 

I am so grateful to have Lori Smith join us for week 42 of Reasons to Hope. I hope you’ll enjoy these highlights from our conversation that I know I’ll be holding onto for a long time.

On Hope 

“It’s actually kind of a hard thing, because I have held onto hope for all of these years and just recently I had an experience where I started taking a supplement this summer that literally the first week I took it, it felt like it was going to be the thing that heals. You feel like you’re there and it’s so exciting, and then in the end it ended up being more than what my body could handle and it wasn’t the good thing that it seemed like it would be. To have hopes dashed like that is hard. I think that’s what we’ve all been going through for the last two years — hopes dashed over and over again — whether it’s school or special events or weddings, or even the loss of loved ones. That’s a hard, hard place to be.”

I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth.

Job 19:25

“I still have hope that God will heal me completely. I was telling a friend the other day I, it would almost be easier if that hope were taken away sometimes, because it’s hard to live with that unfulfilled. What is it the proverb says — “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.” So that’s hard. I’m learning that my faith requires me to hold these two things simultaneously. One — that God is so good, and loves me more than I could ever even begin to understand, and the other — that I am in this deep deep pain. These two things coincide and God enters into that in ways that have been unexpected, and life-giving to me.”

“At the same time it’s very hard. It’s the good in the now, and the not yet. What I’m learning is that my situation is extreme, but I think we all live with that tension, most every day if we’re being honest with ourselves. Whether it’s ‘God didn’t answer my prayers the way I thought he would, or he did answer my prayers that way but that didn’t fulfill my deep inner need like I thought it would.’ I think that’s the tension of the Christian faith. Living in a broken world.” 

… And not only this, but we also celebrate in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Romans 5:3-5

Reconnecting with Nature 

I grew into this person who would hike the Grand Canyon all the way to the bottom and all the way back up and spend seven days in Glacier Park backcountry. Just to see those things that you can’t see unless you hike for a couple days in, where there’s no civilization, it’s just astounding. When I first got sick I was terrified to do something like that again. And actually, it took about ten years before I was strong enough to go hiking. I have a golden retriever, and I was able to take her out hiking just here locally in Northern Virginia, and it fills me with joy. 

Original watercolor painting by Lori Smith from her Comfort for Dark Days devotional. 

Comfort for Dark Days 

“[Comfort for Dark Days is] a 7-day video devotional, and it focuses on the key truths that have really been my lifeline in the midst of twenty years of chronic illness. So the fact that God is for us, that God loves us, that he is with us, that he hears and sees. One thing that’s been really hard for me is that in many ways Lyme disease is an invisible illness, like depression, which can be so overwhelming and dark. People can’t see it. On good days I don’t look sick, so just to know that has been such a lifeline to me — to know that he sees and hears my cries.”

For more from Lori, visit 

Writing the Book of Hope 

We’ve been writing the Book of Hope together for 42 weeks now, but it’s never too late to join us. Here’s all you need to get started.

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