When All Else Fails-HOPE! Hope Heals with Jay and Katherine Wolf
Forty days on life support and two years of brain rehab is not what Jay and Katherine Wolf signed up for when they got married. They were college sweethearts getting ready to live out their dreams in California. Jay wanted to be a lawyer and Katherine was pursuing a career in the entertainment industry when suddenly, their lives were turned upside down. Katherine had a brain stem injury that would leave her needing to re-learn how to eat, speak and walk. She continues to overcome double vision, deafness, facial paralysis and lack of fine motor coordination in her hand on a daily basis. Katherine and Jay’s story became a digital sensation as many prayed for them while they were in the hospital fighting for Katherine’s life. In addition to their ministry, Hope Heals, they also have recently come out with a book with the same namesake that shares their story of suffering and how Christ has been their foundation of hope. We talked with Katherine about what people can do when they feel helpless or abandoned by God.
She likened her physical disabilities to the internal struggle of feeling alone or depressed that many people can identify with.
“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength.” Ephesians 1:17-19
“I had moments where I questioned if God made a mistake leaving me on Earth. I felt like I was caught between life and death and that I didn’t fit on Earth anymore. I didn’t fit in. I was so severely handicapped and more dead than alive in ways. Many people can relate to that on an emotional level that they don’t fit here on the Earth. They might have depression and have similar feelings of being alone. I have been able to articulate this moment that I call the epiphany of hope that, God does not make mistakes and He is ultimately in charge. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 says, “…the body is temporary, what lasts is eternal, the unseen…” That entire passage of scripture deeply formed how I have viewed my entire life. The body is fading away and temporary. The Lord is moving in much deeper ways than the physical and taking care of me most deeply, which is my soul.
That’s the beauty of my situation. I am physically displaying what so many people are going through internally. My whole broken physical and handicap self – my paralyzed face, I can’t drive, I can barely walk – [these limitations often mirror] a picture of what people are feeling on the inside. I’m just living it out on the outside. I have this freedom to have all this issues on the outside of my body so nobody thinks I am doing just okay. It is clear that things are not okay.
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5:1-4
In the book, Hope Heals, Jay and Katherine talk about how they view life’s detours and challenges. Jay shared how we can each have a Christ-filled hope no matter what the situation.
“Yet to see in the midst of this detour how God has profoundly given us purpose through it. We have tried to faithfully steward this unexpected lot that He has given us for our lives and then to see the flourishing that He has brought about through that not just in spite of it. It changes how we view the world and it changes how we view what’s next. Likely, there will be many challenges ahead for us all. We are able to say, ‘God has already taken us through that in the past. God has already taken what looked like the worst thing and ironically has made it the best thing in our lives in so many ways. So we don’t have to be afraid of what’s ahead. We don’t have to be fearful of the next five or ten years. Tomorrow could be the best day. It could be the worst day. It could be the last day.’ It’s this edge that we all live on whether we want to admit to it or not. We don’t have to wait to celebrate the life God has given us, even if it looks a lot different than we thought it would look. It is not through our own strength it is through the power of the Holy Spirit. We are drawn into deeper dependence and relationship on God. We don’t say, ‘Look Katherine had a stroke. She’s going to be disabled. It’s going to be amazing. Let’s celebrate.’ That’s perverted. We get to a point through time and grieving loss, [where we can recognize the positive.] We don’t just put on our Jesus sticker and smile through our pain think everything is going to be fine. And say, ‘He’s using it for His glory.’ There is loss. Yet God has, and is, and will continue to make all things new again and restore them to Himself. We are in that in between time and that is what our lives are all about, that struggle to trust Him and celebrate and live fully in the purpose that He has called us to.”
Each of us goes through periods or events where we question God. We might feel abandoned by God or that our lives have been a mistake. Know that these are all lies and it is important for us to be grounded in God’s truth.
Feeling abandoned or that your situation is helpless? Turn to God! His word is filled with truth that He wants us to cling to in our time of need. Look for Bible characters who went through a similar situation as you and how they responded. Pray and ask God to reveal His truth to you through the Holy Spirit.
Be an encouragement to a friend in need. Take time and listen to their story. Ask how they are doing. Look for ways how you can serve them.
Have hope! When things don’t go as you planned, turn to God and ask Him to show you His purpose and perspective for the situation.
Look for our entire interview with Jay and Katherine Wolf in an upcoming issue of the magazine! Check out the Wolf’s video and book here.