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)

A Good Quality of Life

I’ve been thinking a lot about quality of life issues lately. More specifically, I’ve been trying to figure out why some people that (in the natural) possess virtually everything we think would make for a good quality of life, yet they’re miserable. Conversely, many others have almost none of the ingredients that we think must be in the mix for a good quality of life, but they seem perfectly content.

I think about this issue more and more as life with ALS becomes an even greater challenge. If ALS takes its natural course, the victim will die of respiratory failure. The muscles needed to breathe become weaker and weaker to the point where you just can’t breathe anymore. Oftentimes the flu or pneumonia are just too much for those with advanced ALS and can speed up this respiratory failure.

I had a severe case of the flu in February, and last month, I spent five days in the hospital with pneumonia. Both times I thought it might be the end of my journey in this life. I was definitely not happy with my quality of life when it took all the strength I had (which isn’t much) just to take a breath.

In a post from a few years ago, I said that I would rather die than live with a horrible disease like ALS. At the time I made that statement (about a year before being diagnosed with this horrible disease), I was healthy and had most of the things that people associate with a good quality of life.

I know that some people look at me and think that they’d rather be dead than live like this. I get it. But, as a Christian, I now believe that I was proud and kind of shallow when I made that statement so many years ago.

It’s so easy for Christians to quote well-known Bible verses when we’re not facing difficult challenges, but these same verses become real and so profound when life gets hard. For example, quoting Philippians 4:13 (“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me“), is easy when you’re strong, but it takes on a whole new meaning when you don’t even have enough strength to open your Bible and turn to it.

Does Philippians 4:13 still apply to people like me? YES!

If we put that verse in its proper context by reading the two verses that precede it:

“…I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”

In this passage, Paul is saying that the strength Christ gives us is to be “content (with our quality of life) in whatever circumstances” that we find ourselves in. I’m convinced that it’s this strength or lack thereof that determines how we view our quality of life when going through a difficult trial.

There was a time that I really didn’t like reading verses about God making us content in difficult circumstances. Contentment means you are happy, satisfied, comfortable and other words that sounded more like a Hawaiian vacation than trying to cope with a difficult trial like ALS. I basically viewed contentment as the enemy of hope (for a better quality of life). But I’ve since learned that contentment (in the Biblical sense) is not the enemy of hope; they’re partners.

“…hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.” (Romans 8:24-25)

God-given contentment gives us the perseverance we need to keep on hoping for a better quality of life. Christ gives us contentment for today and hope for a better tomorrow; if we are not content today, we won’t have hope for tomorrow.

One day “tomorrow” will be eternity; the day that contentment no longer has need of hope or faith. It will be so much better than a Hawaiian vacation.

I’ve learned that the first and most important step to improving your quality of life is to do everything possible to improve the quality of life for others.

“Give, and it will be given to you…” (Luke 6:38)


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170 thoughts on “A Good Quality of Life

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  1. Reblogged this on Sorrow to Victory and commented:
    Take time to read this. Bill is such an inspiration to all of us!

  2. Reblogged this on GOD'S LOVE IS INFINITY and commented:
    truly amazing

  3. I am so late reading this blog. This is a timely message for me. A good reminder. You are such an encouragement to many. A true inspiration. We all have a lot to learn from you. I pray God strengthen you from this past illness. It can take so long to get your strength back to where it was. Many blessings to you Bill.

  4. Anonymous on said:

    hello there! Thank you for liking my blog, your posts are very encouraging, keep on writing!

  5. Hi Bill. I have emerged from a long hiatus where I did not write and I did not read other writers. It seemed necessary. Today, after I posted a small part of what it seems I have been learning, released to write again, I hurried to your page. As I read your latest musings I realized I have missed you like an old friend. Your words are like a touchstone where I find echoes of an eternal reality. Thank you for making the effort! I think you have no idea how important your ministry really is.

  6. The best to you my friend…You have been an inspiration for so long. It’s funny sometimes how almost arrogant we can be when everything is fine but what truly counts is when things are at the worst. 🙂

    Blessings to you and as always, a great post! Hugs, Amy 🙂

  7. Thank you for all you write Bill. Enriching in every sentence. Thanking God for you.

  8. Wow!
    Incredible reflections!
    Thanks for sharing your life!
    Million thanks!

  9. Hi, I am the sister of your brothers neighbor, her name is Paula.Paula has talked about you for a long time. You have made a difference in my day and my future days. I had been critically ill 4years ago. I was in a coma and on life support for 3 years. I’ve never smoked and used to be a solid runner.my illness has left me with pulmonary fibrosis. I am oxygen dependent,the last couple of days I have been feeling a bit overwhelmed. My faith is very strong and I have been praying for some help. The Lord has never left me abandoned. Reading your blog this morning has been an answer to my prayers!! You absolutely inspire me. I am imagining that it takes alot of energy to post your blog!!Thank you Thank you Thank you. Your an amazing man!! God is working through you! Your life is doing more good works than you know! May God bless you and Thank you again for taking up the challenge!!

    • Thank you SO MUCH, Madonna for your encouraging words!!! This is one of the most humbling comments I’ve ever received on my blog!
      You’re right, it’s difficult for me to keep posting on my blog (getting harder and harder just to get out of bed and into my wheelchair 🙂 ), but I need the interaction with inspiring people like you so, with God’s help, I force my body to obey my spirit.
      I’m so sorry for your health difficulties. I imagine that you could relate to the line (in the post) about having to fight for every breath.
      Keep fighting, my new friend.

  10. Amen. QOL is a staple in my career. Something I preach and rarely try myself.
    I started my own blog as I attempt. Life transformation to reaign my “whole self” with the Lords Will.
    I’d your bored, take a look.

  11. I thank God for the witness you give about the real meaning of life and of hope. I am sure that God has kept you with us this long so that God can communicate to the rest of us about the true meaning of the words “quality of life” that only you can communicate for God! thank you, my brother in Christ!

  12. Reblogged this on SO I HAVE MS…now what? and commented:
    The world of blogging. It’s such a blessing to have the opportunity to be inspired, to smile and even convicted at times as we read. Bill @ Unshakable Hope, always touches our hearts with each and every post. He’s one special man “doing everything possible to improve the quality of life for others.” “Give, and it will be given to you…” (Luke 6:38) The Lord truly is smiling as He states, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”

  13. I rejoice that you have found strength to say that you are working toward being content (and I pray that God would fill your heart with all peace necessary). Truly some of the most inspiring and tear-jerking stories I have ever heard/read are of people who’s lives change utterly suddenly. For myself, I can’t say very cheaply that I am content. I’m not one who has any kind of sickness, handicap, etc (by the world’s standard I’m perfectly healthy), yet my wife and I have less than the people on welfare own. We live in the constant tension of whether we will be able to pay bills, or if we will need to figure out what to sell. We don’t have Internet, we don’t have television, we don’t have video games, and we only have computers for communication and writing =)
    I am content in all things. Thank you for challenging me to reask this question, and reexamine myself. Grace and peace in Christ Jesus, and blessings and love from Ohio.

    • Thank you, TJ. I’m so sorry for your financial difficulties. I had to quit my job after being diagnosed with ALS and this led to us being forced to sell our home, new van and camper and to make drastic lifestyle changes… The financial stress was greater than just being diagnosed with a terminal disease. God turned our financial difficulties around and He can do the same for you. Hang in there!

  14. Amen, friend. Amen! I actually gave a sermon on being content this past Sunday, and the fact that I’m just seeing your post is confirmation for me that I must continue to meditate on this! Thank you, Bill, for this encouragement!

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