Unshakable Hope

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

Don’t give up!

After reading some of the comments from my last post (“More than just a Dream”), I’m afraid that I might have left the impression that my only hope (for physical healing) is in the next life. If I believed heaven was my only hope for healing, I probably would have checked out years ago. Waiting (for heaven) to be healed is merely my backup plan; it’s my Plan B. Whether it’s through medical science or a miracle from God, even after 16 years with ALS, I’m still hoping for the best outcome here on earth. This is what I believe for others too, regardless of the severity of their trial.

I realize how crazy it sounds for someone who has received a diagnosis of ALS to be hoping for a complete recovery. I’m not naïve; I’ve known so many good Christian people who have died of this and other insidious diseases like Cancer, Heart Disease and Lupus. And I realize that, medically speaking, ALS is 100 percent fatal. Well, technically that’s not true; there are medically documented cases of people being miraculously healed of ALS and even the ALS Association says, “There are people in whom ALS has stopped progressing and a small number of people in whom the symptoms of ALS reversed.”  So maybe it’s only like 99.9 percent fatal – I choose to believe for that one tenth of one percent chance.

As I typed that, a scene from the movie Dumb and Dumber came to my mind (don’t judge me). In this scene, one of the “dumb guy’s” named “Lloyd,” who’s in love with a beautiful and sophisticated character named “Mary,” is asking her what the chances of them ending up together are:

Lloyd: What do you think the chances are of a guy like you and a girl like me… ending up together?
Mary: Well, Lloyd, that’s difficult to say. I mean, we don’t really…
Lloyd: Hit me with it! Just give it to me straight! I came a long way just to see you, Mary. The least you can do is level with me. What are my chances?
Mary: Not good.
Lloyd: You mean, not good like one out of a hundred?
Mary: I’d say more like one out of a million.
[pause]
Lloyd: So you’re telling me there’s a chance… *YEAH!*

Maybe some of you reading this think I’m like Lloyd for being excited about a one in a million chance of being healed of ALS. Maybe you’re thinking that I shouldn’t encourage people to hold onto “false hope.” I’m definitely not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I’m not “Lloyd” either; I’ve been contemplating this for over 16 years and here are some of my conclusions:

  • Miracles by definition defy all natural laws – including statistical probabilities.
  • For the 16+ years of this trial, God has sustained us with miracle after miracle; I don’t think I have the right, nor do I think that I’m qualified to categorize certain miracles as “big” and others as “small.”
  • There’s no such thing as “false hope” when you’re looking to the “God of hope.”
  • Jesus still heals; He “is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Heb13:8)
  • “God doesn’t show partiality.” (Acts 10:34)
  • “The things that are impossible with people are possible with God.” (Luke 18:27)
  • I would rather die looking for a miracle than live not believing in them.

In Daniel chapter 3, King Nebuchadnezzar demanded that the Jews bow down and worship his god. All those that refused to bow would be thrown into the furnace that the Babylonians used to make bricks. As most people know, three young Jewish men refused to bow and this is what they told the king; “…our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

For me, this is more than a great example of strong faith; I believe this is a pattern of faith that all Christians should emulate regardless of challenges we might be facing. We can proclaim that, “Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from [insert your trial here]. BUT EVEN IF HE DOES NOT… we are not going to serve…” doubt, fear, worry, hopelessness or anything else that destroys faith, hope, joy and peace!

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193 thoughts on “Don’t give up!

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  1. Pingback: “Don’t give up!” 10/09/2014 by Bill Sweeney | God's group

  2. ” I’m definitely not the sharpest knife in the drawer…”

    I just checked my drawer. You are definitely the Ginsu! (I am the butter knife, lol!)

    I truly value the authenticity of your faith. Your heart for God is surely being used by Him, to shore us up, to challenge us and encourage us.

    (Speaking of encouraging, thank you for your recent visits.)

    I’ll probably post this next week, but I wanted to share with you a video I found through a local pastor. It is the best video I have seen this year. The video features Bob Sorge and is titled: : “God Could Have Left Job Alone” (5 min)

    Peace to you and yours! Beth

  3. Bill, I really needed to hear this from you! I was diagnosed a almost two years ago with ALS. I have four beautiful daughters, 13-24 yrs old and a faithful husband. I so want to live this well for our Lord to honor Him and my family. I struggle because I work so hard to carry hope in a way that is different from the people around me. It is so good to hear my hope, reflected in your Godly perspective. Sometimes, I feel like I’m alone with my reflection of God’s hand/physical healing in my life. May the Lord Bless you. I’m praying for you as of today. I’m so proud of you! tracey elofson
    twewordplay.com

    • Thank you so much for your words of encouragement, Tracey. I don’t know how I haven’t come across your blog before now, but I’m glad I found you and am now following because you share my goal of spreading a message of hope in Christ. I am glad that, like me, you have a loving spouse and family to help you though this difficult time. I am looking forward to reading your posts. God bless you.

  4. What a great inspiration you are Bill! You have a wonderful attitude and I admire you for it. God is good!

  5. Hi Bill, I am so glad I found your blog. Thank you for writing so many engaging, hope filled, truthful, inspiring articles. You are amazing! Your faith in our Heavenly Father is to be celebrated. You’ve inspired me. God is good and a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him as you have done. I’m following your blog. I also have a blog in which I share personal testimonies of overcoming and words of encouragement. God bless you! Pamela

  6. I thank God for your testimony of unshakeable hope, I really do. Keep standing, keep hoping, keep trusting, keep believing, keep praying, keep shining, keep inspiring……..The Word says He’s is able so He’s able!…….Blessings!

  7. I do so enjoy your blogs, Bill. You never cease to amaze me, with your gentle but truthful insight. I pray for you and your wife often, and I hope you continue to share this wisdom for many years to come. Kari

  8. Amen Bill. As far as I am concerned you already are a miracle. I have added you to my blog roll. I would love to share this encouraging post in my series on encouragement if you would allow me to. Leslie Rose K

  9. This inspiring post really made me think. Thank you.

    God gives us hope. Without God and hope there is nothing.

    You are in my prayers.

    Nancy

  10. I have nothing but praise for God and you for how he has allowed you to face this trial with grace, dignity, faith. Your words reminded me of Pastor Greg Rohlinger from the Palm Valley Church. He, too, is facing a terrible disease and both of you are an inspiration to us all.
    http://www.palmvalley.org/
    (I am nota member of this Church nor o I even live in the same state but He has visited my Church)

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