Hope is essential for anyone living on Planet Earth. Each day, I come in contact with patients and family members who are stunned with trauma or are facing the threat of life-altering illness. Yet, regardless of how slim the chance of recovery, they cling tenaciously to hope.

I am amazed at the resilience and courage of humankind in the face of overwhelming odds, but it is hope that gives them the courage to go on. When an individual has faith — faith in a God who is able to do what the most advanced and amazing medical technology is unable to do — this faith sustains their hope.

On his high school graduation night, Nick was struck on the side of the head by a tree limb while he was riding through an orchard in the back of a pick-up truck. In the hospital, Nick’s mother held vigil by his bedside in the ICU. After many tests, x-rays and examinations by a collection of specialists, doctors shared with the family that there was little hope of Nick surviving, let alone recovering.

Yet his mother would not give up. She continued to pray, believe and hope, and she would not let anyone dissuade her. When a nurse entered the room where Nick’s body lay silent as machines rhythmically whirred, rang and whistled, she informed his mother of a procedure she was going to perform on Nick.

“Talk to Nick,” his mother insisted. “Don’t tell me, tell Nick. He’s not dead. Talk to Nick!”

Seven months later at the employee Christmas party, the hospital president announced to the crowd of approximately 400 employees and family members that some very special guests were joining them. Then he introduced Nick’s mother and father and — walking in with his parents — Nick himself. Everyone knew of Nick’s story, and they all stood and applauded and wept.

Medical professionals will continue to share the prognosis to the honest best of their learned ability. The information will be processed, then the patient and/or loved ones will search for a reason to hope. Hope sustained by faith will give them the strength and energy they need to continue on.

by Chaplain Ron Hyrchuk

June 8, 2006