by Howard and Jeanne Tomlinson


Plans for a Future and a Hope

Has your future ever looked bleak?  Does it seem like there’s no hope that things will ever improve?  Look again.  There may be a silver lining behind the dark storm clouds.

At the start of 1993, things looked bleak for us as Howie continued to weaken.  We lived in the shadow of his brain surgery scheduled for February 10.  We cried out to the Lord, yet stress and fear of the unknown seemed to tear at our hearts and deplete our strength.
    One night I woke up out of a sound sleep with this verse on my mind: “‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope’” (Jeremiah 29: 11).  I went right back to sleep, but remembered the next morning what had happened.  I truly believe God woke me up with this message from His Word (a verse I had previously memorized) to encourage us.  I eagerly shared it with Howie.  This verse helped calm our hearts and prepare us for the days and weeks ahead.
    Because Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital does medical research, Howie was asked to participate in a protocol to help develop future treatments for brain tumors.  He agreed and we made numerous train trips to the hospital during the three weeks prior to surgery.  The Lord gave Howie the strength he needed to undergo various medical procedures.
    On the day before Howie’s surgery, he checked into the hospital.  The doctors again asked if he would like to participate in a protocol, this time to determine if he had a blood clot in his leg.  He was told that brain tumor patients often have blood clots in their legs.  If untreated, these clots could travel to the lungs during surgery and cause instant death.
    Howie agreed to the protocol and it proved that he did have a blood clot in his leg!  To protect him during surgery, the doctors immediately inserted a “vena cava” filter to prevent any clot from traveling to his lungs.
    God had given us a message in my dream that Howie would have a future and a hope.  He confirmed that message by keeping watch over Howie during the weeks prior to surgery.  We were going to see even greater evidences of His sustaining power in the days ahead.

We don’t believe that God speaks audibly to His people today, but He does speak to our hearts in a still, small voice and through His Word, which is alive and powerful.  Hebrews 4:12 tells us, “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”  God knows what we need and gives us promises that can speak peace, comfort, encouragement and strength to our hearts.  When we are downtrodden, He can instantly lift us up with a message of hope.  We need only to look to Him and His Word.

(song by Jeanne Tomlinson based on Psalm 29:11)

Who can I turn to when troubles don’t cease?
Who can I turn to when fear won’t release?
I must look up to Jesus my Lord,
For He alone gives strength and peace.

The Lord gives strength to His people,
The Lord will bless His people with peace;
The Lord gives strength to His people,
The Lord will bless His people with peace.

For Those Who Hurt

You may be feeling hopeless as you face a bleak and uncertain future.  Keep in mind that God often appears to hide His face for awhile to test our faith.  “Truly, Thou art a God who hides Himself, O God of Israel, Savior!” (Isaiah 45:15).  During these dark days, look to the Lord and cling to His promises.  Let His Word give you the wisdom and strength to face each day.  No matter how bad things appear now, He is able to turn everything around in an instant.  He has plans for you which include a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29: 11).  Rest in His love and care, and look for the silver lining behind the storm clouds.



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Chapter 9: When I Am Weak, Then I Am Strong Table of Contents Chapter 11: The Battle Belongs to the Lord