instigating a life, one story at a time…

Journey Of Hope

When life unleashes all its pain and hardship with ruthlessness and cruelty, and you find yourself groping for that light at the end of the dark tunnel, it is easy to despair and be despondent. You are bedeviled and confused. You spend so much time thinking about possible reasons why your seemingly carefree existence has been brought to a screeching halt, without any obvious prior warning signs. Answers are not easy to come by!

It has been almost a decade since my self-imposed break from any form of writing. Yet, it is easy to put pen to paper when you swerved off life’s road and you know that it will never be the same again. The past is gone; the present is tense and you do not know what the future holds. But you are sure it can never again be like it used to be. Such a situation can either make you stronger, more resolute and more determined or it can completely crush your spirit. Some unanswered questions kept haunting you: Why and why now?

When Ting, my wife, was diagnosed with cancer of the carcinoma nasopharynx, it was a rude upheaval for the family, especially for our kids. Our youngest daughter’s second birthday was just weeks away. Everything turned topsy-turvy. We embarked on a journey of uncertainty with fear and trepidation, a journey into unknown territory. We were fully aware that the difficult steps in the initial stage were an easy challenge considering the tension, pain, longing and separation that we had to endure. Yet, we were confident that “though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death” (Psalm 23:4), we will be “sustained” (Proverbs18:14).

It all began over 5 years ago when Ting complained of “ringing” in her right ear. We took several trips to the doctors at Tezpur, the cultural capital of Assam. Then we consulted a specialist at Downtown Hospital, Guwahati, who after several visits over a period of months concluded that it could be a case of mastoid abscess. But she got no relief. During a furlough back home we visited another doctor who offered to operate. The good doctor’s offer prompted us to consider going to a reputed hospital for a second opinion and necessary treatment. And Christian Medical College, Vellore, was our obvious choice.

The initial battery of tests and investigations did not reveal any definite diagnosis.  A neurosurgeon ordered an MRI scan which finally revealed a tumor. A biopsy was conducted to determine whether the tumor was malignant or not. It was a real test of character and faith as we await the results. During the week leading to the day when the biopsy results would be known, we tried to be calm and composed as best as we could. However, no preparation was good enough for what was to come. But deep down in my heart God said, “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Cor 12:9). The samples taken during the biopsy confirmed our worst fears. Ting rang up late in the evening. Between her hysterical cries I managed to mumble a word here and a word there. She cried her hearts out that night, I was told. Dazed and tired, I decided to sleep. Before I retired to bed that March night which seemed so long ago, I said a prayer and claimed for the family one of the most promising verses in the Bible: “For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favor is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning” (Psalm 30:5).

Once the reality of the situation sank in, Ting faced her treatment with songs and prayers in her lips, and reading of books. The doctors ordered thirty-three rounds of radiation and six cycles of chemotherapy. When I was able to offload my duties and plan my trip to be with her during the course of her treatment, she asked me to “bring the hymn book”. Since that first trip to CMC, I had made numerous trips and every time I stepped inside the hospital I experienced a strong feeling of comfort. As a Christian, the wall hangings with Bible verses provided much comfort and solace. Ting’s department, the radiation therapy unit, was no exception. Matthew 11:28: “Come unto me……” seemed so new and so refreshing.

During the course of Ting’s treatment we have learned to exercise deep faith in the power of prayer. It can give immense comfort to weary souls like ours. Relatives and friends called and text messaged to give words of comfort. They really made a big difference. The elder of the church which we attended in Shillong eight years earlier called to offer sympathies and words of comfort. It was like “cold waters to a thirsty soul” (Proverbs 25:25) to hear his soft voice after a gap of almost eight years. I was overwhelmed with emotions. When I first reached Vellore with a handwritten get-well card signed by my daughters, sisters, brother and other close friends, she could not stop crying. I know crying can do a lot of good. Someone who knew better once said: “I know two people who claimed to have never cried – one committed suicide and the other ended up in a mental hospital”. Through it all we have learned that we are surrounded by people who care, who pray for us. Though this journey is not of our choice, we continued to see the goodness of God and His presence (Matthew 28:20, Jeremiah 29:11).

Books can be a great source of comfort too. Most of the time when she is able to, Ting read books. We bought enough books which would have taken the uninitiated a lifetime to read. Apart from periodicals, she devoured many of the “Chicken Soup for the Soul Series”, making her cry as she read them. “Heaven” by Randy Alcorn gives new insights on the subject of heaven. David Biebel’s “If God Is So Good, Why Do I Hurt So Bad?”, “Jonathan: You Left Too Soon” offered comfort in time of crisis. Former secular novelist turned Christian writer Francine Rivers’ novels especially “Redeeming Love” touched one’s soul. Carole Hamm’s “Springtime of the Soul”, Martha Hubler’s “Draw Me Closer, Lord”, Alistair Begg’s “The Hand of God: Finding His Care In All Circumstances” and many others were a real blessing to us.

I believe the most difficult part of the journey has been walked by the children. They needed to be relocated which was easier said than done. They had to go to a new school halfway through the academic session. They had to learn to live in a totally new environment. But the unknown faces soon shed off their masks and they discovered a whole lot of new friends welcoming them with open arms. God in His wisdom and grace has allowed each one of them to settle down quickly even in our absence.
And that leads us to the inevitable question: Does God have a purpose in this? Possibly! I don’t assume a false sense of knowing something which I definitely do not know. But I strongly believe that God does not take pleasure in letting someone suffer for one’s good. We do not seek for answers. We do not ask for reasons. But we believe that God in His infinite goodness has allowed this to happen to us. We must admit that good things have happened to us as a direct result of the situation we are in. It also has been a humbling experience, the best class-room for a life-changing lesson in humility. It teaches you to be more sensitive to others who are suffering. It draws you apart from worldly cares and brings you closer to Him.

The lesson of life God taught us as we continued this journey is not to despair. Circumstances may appear to wreck our lives and our well-laid plans, but deep down in our heart of hearts we are assured that God is not helpless even among the ruins. In the words of another hope-r, “I pray in hope. I’m going to keep hoping to my grave”. Hope is what keeps us going. Not only hope in this life but also in the next! For it is hope that is all that we have and we know Hope will take us through to the end!

Do I hear the faint and distant drum-beats of hope getting closer?

PostScript: This was written during the course of my Ting’s treatment. Circumstances have changed a great deal but it could still be helpful to someone…

89 thoughts on “Journey Of Hope

  1. Hope and love is indeed all we have! I shall remember you in my prayers!!!!!!!!

  2. Peace and love.


  3. Thank you for sharing your family’s story. Ultimately, it is a story of hope and faith in the Resurrection. God bless you and your beautiful children.

    • Thank you, dear friend. It’s a pleasure to connect with you here. And thanks for stopping by and leaving a few words of hope. Hope we can interact more often in the days ahead. Have a blessed day!

  4. Hey, brother, this post not only moved me to tears but was great in reaffirming the fact that, even in our darkest hours, God is there walking with us, shepherding us. God bless you and your family. Oh, and thanks for stopping by my blog!

    • Thank you, dear brother! By the grace of God my eldest daughter entered college just a few back, pursuing her dream of earning a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce. She will be 18 this coming August 19. It has been a bumpy ride but we have been a witness to God’s grace and mercies all along the way.
      Glad to connect with you here. Do come back often. Happy blogging and God bless!

  5. So unbelievably touching. You are a great man of faith and I feel privileged to have read your family’s story. I look forward to learning from your blessed wisdom.

    • Your blog is just fabulous. Thanks for looking around and this opportunity to get to know you. You are so generous with your praise – I’m flattered. Let’s stay connected and God bless!

  6. What a sad story yet full of happiness! Your faith has brought you through it all. Now that you look back you can see that God was holding your hand. Bless you my brother.

    Shirley Anne xxx

  7. indeed “joy cometh” I am reading this with tears in my eyes, grief and joy in life. Keep writing and thanks

    • Thank you! It was two months after the home-going of my wife that a thought occurred to me: “There must be hundreds and thousands of people around the world who are hurting and broken by grief, and other seemingly setbacks that life throw at them. Why not reach out to them?” The idea eventually took concrete shape in a matter of days. It was on December 6, 2009 that I started out with Facebook. Then Twitter followed. And then blogging came naturally. It has been an incredible journey ever since.

      Thank you for being a part of my journey. Hope to get to know you better in the days ahead. Do keep in touch, and God bless!

  8. Your poignant story reduced me to tears. I love your reliance and faith in God during that dark episode of your life. May God continue to be with your family.

    • Thank you for your kind words. Just know that it means a lot to me. And it’s so great to be connected here. Hope to come across your blog often. Happy blogging and God bless!

  9. I read your Journey of Hope, looked at all your pictures, wept and prayed for true love. God bless, Khamneithang.

    • Dear Enida, thank you so much for your prayer, love and concern. It means a lot to me. And thank you for the connection. Do keep in touch. God’s choicest blessings to you…

  10. Thanks so much for following my blog. I, in turn, will be following yours.

    It was a privilege to read about your family’s amazing story. You are so right when you said, “It teaches you to be more sensitive to others who are suffering.”

    You are a true man of faith. Keep up the great work on the blog. You have a viable ministry of encouraging and helping others!

    Blessing to you and your precious family.

  11. What a beautiful lady and children. I’m very sorry for your loss and wish you all the grace and healing in the world.

  12. As I was writing this comment, my daughter asked me, “Mama, why are you crying?” 🙂 I get easily moved by true stories of real people who have been through and are in the middle of so many storms yet, by God’s grace, have managed to smile, praise and thank God, and depend on God’s grace. May God continue to bless you and your family! Your life is a testimony of God’s faithfulness and love. Thank you for following my blog! To God be all the glory! I am blessed to have a you, a journalist, who appreciates my writing. As I end my comment, I would like to share with you my daughter’s favorite verse, “I am the Lord your God. I am holding your hand, so don’t be afraid. I am here to help you” (Isaiah 41:13). God is alive and He is always holding our hand. 🙂

    • Thank you so much for the kinds words spoken with true love and concern. Every Christian’s life is a testimony of God’s divine providence and faithfulness. Isaiah 41:13 is one of my favorite verses too. Bless your dear daughter on my behalf. Thanks for the connection and let’s stay in touch to share God’s love. Happy blogging and blessings to you all!

  13. Areknel on said:

    I came by to see who had visited my blog. I’m glad I did. Your story has moved me as I lost my son to Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma just a few weeks ago. You have a beautiful family and are truly a man of much faith and love. Thank you for sharing your intimate moment with us your fellow blogers. Thank you for taking time out of your busy life to visit my blog, it is much appreciated. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

    • My prayers are with you as you mourn the lost of a son. Death is an awful thing but inevitable, something we all must go through, yet it is so painful we cannot come to terms with it. Keep the faith and keep going, …and there is no harm in revisiting the pain. But don’t build a house on it. Thanks for your concern and prayers. May God be with you, always!

  14. Pingback: Illuminating Bloggers Award | 8 Kids And A Business

  15. obsfo on said:

    Hi, and thanks for checking-in to my blog. Hope you find something of interest.
    You have a gift that not all people have. Cherish it.



  16. What a lovely but sad, and courage filled post.
    Did you read the book 90 minutes in heaven with Don Piper and Cecil Murphey?

    It was recommended to me by my lovely hairdresser.

    I thoroughly enjoyed the book besides it giving me a knowledge of what this man experienced it helped me understand what my husband went through when he had his accident.

  17. A beautiful story of a very personal story of faith! Wishing you the continued blessings of faith and God’s love! Thank you for sharing your journey!

  18. A very personal heart wrenching story. I am so glad I found you by your liking my blog post. You are an awesome poet and writer. Thanks so much for the vulnerability you show by sharing this story. Be blessed brother and know that God can see the forest through the trees. 🙂

  19. Thank you for checking out my blog. I am so glad I have read some of your posts. I heard your faith loud and clear in this piece about your family’s experiences during your wife’s sickness. It touched my heart to hear about the emotions, fears, confusion, but also the steadfast faith. My husband is a head and neck surgeon, so I hear stories and pray for patients whose conditions range from simple to life-threatening. It is a blessing to me to hear of other Christian physicians like the ones who helped your family. I could also relate to your story in another way: my husband is from Asia, Laos specifically, but came to the States as a child in the middle of very difficult times. He became a Christian in early adulthood; we still pray for his parents and extended family! Anyhow, I look forward to reading more of your posts. May God keep blessing you!

  20. Thank you for following me. It is day three for me, and you are my second follower. I am happy that I am still small enough to know each individual that follows me at this point.
    Although I have never lost a member of my immediate family, my sister is fighting ALS. But, after the initial shock, she has returned to her old, happy self again. In many ways she is better now than before. God does indeed give us something in Jesus to be joyful about.
    God bless you and your loving family.

    • Thanks for the connection. And it is my prayer that your sister will find the strength and courage to enjoy life as it is. And that if it is in the will of God, He will touch and heal her from the dreaded disease.
      A few years ago when we were serving as missionary-teachers, we came in contact with one friend who was also suffering this deadly disease – ALS. He was also a Pastor. Unfortunately, he died on Valentine’s Day 2005 at the young age of 51/52.
      Douglas P. Kibbe
      November 1, 1952 – February 14, 2005

      You know, things do not always work out the way we want but let us always remember that God knows best…
      Keep the faith, and blessings to you and your dear ones!

      • I will be happy for my sister while she is alive, and happier for her when she reaches the peace of Heaven. It is always hard on those of us who have to stay behind and wait. But we will all reach the peace of Heaven some day. Lately I have felt that I may reach the peace of Heaven before my sister. Only God knows.

        I liked the one about the two words of wisdom.

      • My sister is on a very strict diet, which appears to be keeping her disease from progressing for the moment. I have been not very well, and I also am finding I feel much better following a diet like hers. God bless you and your lovely daughters.

      • My prayers are with you. God bless you all…

  21. “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

    This scripture encompasses so many things – hard times, loss, persecution, despair, confusion and so much more. It also includes the entry of a new friend into our lives. I feel so blessed that you found my site and in turn I’ve found yours. Sometimes God allows someone to cross our lives for no other reason than prayer. We all need it (continually).

    You and your family are on my list and in my heart but more importantly, you’re in the eyes of God. He’s noted you, your circumstance and has made provision for you. “I know my thoughts toward you says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and hope (that expected end) Jeremiah 29:11.

    Blessings to you my brother,

    PS That you entitled this “Journey of Hope” exemplifies your fellowship with God. It has truly touched my soul.

    • Dear Rebecca,

      Thank you for your kind words. Jeremiah 29:11 is one of my favorite verses. Another is Psa 119:67-68 Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word. Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statutes.

      Thank you for the connection. And much thanks for your prayers. Do keep in touch. Blessings to you and your dear ones…

  22. Thank you for sharing from your heart and thus truly passing on what God has taught you…through your words God is praised indeed to others. I pray your Journey of Hope continues to strengthen and uplift you until you are home with your lovely wife who now lives in the arms of the great Hope giver! Prayers for all your family. In His peace,

    • Thank you so much for your kind words. The journey continues…and God has been very faithful. My eldest daughter just entered college doing her Bachelor’s degree in Commerce. She will be 18 this August. Thank you for your prayers. May God’s choicest blessings be yours!

  23. Thank you for your beautiful writing. I look forward to reading more. Isn’t it wonderful to know that God walks with us no matter where we are in life. Your wife is rejoicing with our Heavenly Father.

  24. Thank you for following my blog, this piece was truly moving. My mother had a cancer scare a year ago, I thought I was going to lose her forever. Thank you for this article, and God bless you.

    • You are truly blessed. Tell you mother how lucky she is. God must have a purpose in this. After 33 rounds of radiotherapy and 6 cycles of chemo we thought that the nightmare was all behind us, but in the will of God, it was not to be. God bless!

  25. Thank you for following my blog. It’s not every day that one meets a writer eloquent enough to describe what one went through battling with cancer. I am a cancer survivor (stage 3, colon) and is on remission for almost three years now. It’s the reason why I put up this blog so I can also share my plight.

    God bless you and your family, will check your other posts soon!

    • Great to be connected with you. It was the home-going of my wife that helped me to reach out to others. We’ll keep in touch. Would like to know more about you and your battle against the disease. God bless you!

  26. Thank you for sharing your story and being a positive pillar of strength through your darkest hour. You are truly an inspiration to us all and most importantly you seem to be a gentle yet valiant father to your children. I wish peace for you and your family.

  27. I am grateful for having the privilege of reading your posts. Your stories inspire me. Thank you for creating a blog.

  28. Your story brings tears to my eyes and to my heart. I feel for you and your children; and I thank you for your very wise words. God bless you; and keep you; and bring you to His full peace. Carley

  29. My thoughts and prayers are with you!

  30. My heart wept with you brother…May the Lord continue to bless you and your family.

  31. My prayers for you as well.

  32. Thank you for visiting my Homepage, In my fiction, I too am searching to better understand where we stand at the feet of our creator. The journey through life, my father said, was not a “bowl of cherries.” And, so it is apparent too soon. But without the dark the sun has no meaning, without the shivering cold the warmth has no caress. Without and end, the beginning and journey lose meaning. Despite of our apparent common and rich biblical heritage, we are often cast painfully against the hard walls of doubt by the raging storms of life’s seemingly random moods. Yet, we are warned not to try to understand but to maintain trust and love in our heart, it is the duty of the heart, say the wise as they share their wisdom. One Biblical quote I have found uniquely helpful is: “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. ’For as the heavens are higher than the Earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9 I write science fiction in part to explore these possibilities, these meanings, and share the conversation with many. Thanks for sharing in your warm and inspirational manner and may God Bless you and your family, Janr Ssor

  33. triathlonobsession on said:

    Somehow you found my blog and then you just posted exactly what I need to hear–unbelievably serendipitous. So sorry for your loss. And many thanks for sharing! Elizabeth

  34. Lynn Wyvill on said:

    This is beautifully written and your deep faith touched my heart. Thank you for sharing your story and pictures.

    Thank you for visiting and folllowing my blog. I’m looking forward to reading more of your wonderful writing.

    May God bless you and your family.

  35. This is truly exceptional and all an elequent testimony from yourself and others as to how the Lord ministers through such suffering, Khamneithang. Am so glad you made yourself known and would like your permission to link this into my brief page God Heals Today (
    The Lord continue to bless and keep you all.

    • Thank you so much, dear brother. You are too generous with words. I’m so blessed to follow your blog and be connected here. Let’s stay in touch.

      • Dear friend – have at last updated my page with link to your Journey, as promised, and trust it will be an inspiration to anyone whom the Lord leads to read therein.

  36. I am so very sorry for your loss! May you and children be strong enough to face the unknown future and find peace and love!

  37. shofar on said:

    You remind me of Joseph in prison and the Bible says “the Lord was with Joseph.”
    God bless you and your family!

  38. This story is very moving. I’m so sorry about your loved and loving wife. *God’s peace to you and your dear children.* You write with great heart.

  39. Your wife was beautiful, and her beauty lives on through your children. Thank you for sharing this. It moved me deeply.

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  41. Your story brought tears to my eyes. Prayers for you and your family. You are a genuine writer and your pain and hope come through clearly. God bless

  42. Having had many family and friends with cancer, some of whom have died of it, I can empathize with what you have been going through. I forget which philosopher I am misquoting but: God never gives you more than you can handle.
    You might also say that this is a way for your friends and family to learn how much they care and how much they can do.
    May the Blessing of God Almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be with you and remain with you.

  43. Thank you for sharing this sad but inspiring part of your life. Glad I found your blog. You have a gifted way of painting a picture with your words. Your family photos are beautiful and you are doing an awesome job.

    May God continue to comfort and encourage you even as you seek to do the same for others! 🙂



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