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)

TGIF

I was thinking about Good Friday when I woke up early yesterday morning. Then I thought about people using the phrase “Thank God It’s Friday” to celebrate the end of a work week and the start of the weekend.

Even though I haven’t worked in over 19 years, I remember that feeling of being so glad a work week was over as I was sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic on a Friday evening or landing at the airport after being gone all week on a business trip.

Then I thought about the darkest Friday of my life.

After three days of grueling tests, which included cutting muscle samples out of my thigh without any anesthetic and a spinal tap that left me with a debilitating headache for three days, the neurologist, flanked by a group of interns, told to Mary and I that I had ALS. He went on to say that I would continually get weaker, be confined to a wheelchair, lose my ability to speak, and that I would die in three to five years.

That was not a Friday I was thanking God for.

Do you think when the disciples were staring up at Jesus dying on the cross they called that day “Good Friday?”

Yeah, I don’t think so either.

I’m sure there was a lot of confusion and crying on that dark day. Maybe they were like Mary and I on the long drive home from the medical center that Friday evening; not even looking at one another for fear of dissolving into tears.

Like Mary and I, I’m sure they were thinking, “This isn’t the way it was supposed to be.”

To add insult to injury, Jesus and the disciples were surrounded by people that were mocking and celebrating His crucifixion.

For the disciples, this day was anything but TGIF.

Jesus knew differently.

…for the joy set before Him (Jesus) endured the cross…” (Hebrews 12:2)

It was “for the joy set before Him” that Jesus was able to endure the insults, the flogging, the beatings, and being nailed to the cross.

It wasn’t until Sunday morning that the disciples understood that God’s plan was so much bigger and better than they could have imagined:

…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who (like Jesus) for the joy set before Him endured the cross…” (Hebrews 12:1-2)

We can endure the cross we have to bear, no matter how heavy it might be, if we “fix our eyes on Jesus” and focus on “the joy set before us” – eternal life with the One who suffered and died for us.

This does not mean that we have to abandon our hopes and dreams for this life – far from it. God wants to bless us in this life too.

But, making a commitment to follow Christ is the only Unshakable Hope that God offers for this life and the next.

Today is a great day to make this commitment or to renew your commitment.

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121 thoughts on “TGIF

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  1. I am so thankful you know Jesus!He is so good!

  2. Amen!! Such a wonderful and well written post!

  3. Sending you so many blessings. ❤ Debbie

  4. “It wasn’t until Sunday morning that the disciples understood that God’s plan was so much bigger and better than they could have imagined”… words, so true. But we don’t always think that when trials and sufferings come our way. He is the God of yesterday, today and forever, there is more to our stories than we know. Thank you for your timely Easter message. Blessings and hugs to you.

  5. Amen! That next Saturday was a pretty bleak day too I think. Sometimes that is exactly how life feels to us when we look at shattered dreams and wonder how/if we will ever get through. I can’t imagine what that has been for you, though I know we all have those desparate situations at some point in our lives. You are absolutely right and a great example of how fixing our eyes on Jesus is the only way we get through it. So glad to read your post. Thank you for the great reminder!

    • Thank you, Laura. It’s funny you mentioned the following Saturday, especially using the word “bleak.” It stormed the following Saturday, but we have a miraculous story about a rainbow that followed the storm – God’s promises are true, Laura. Maybe I’ll write a blog post about the rainbow.

  6. Bill, what a blessing your blog is to read. Your life walk with Jesus and ALS remind me of yesterday’s “Streams in the Desert” devotional post. ALS is the blow that broke your body and revealed diamonds that glorify God. Your posts are glittering jewels in the blogosphere, dear brother. You shine hope, you shine Jesus.
    Blessings to you & Mary ~ Wendy

    • Thank you very much, Wendy. You always write such encouraging comments.
      Thank you also for the re-tweet. I’m not a big twitterer, I signed in this morning for the first time in months, but I’m going to figure it all out and be a regular. (I might be asking you some twitter questions :-))

      • Your Unshakable Hope posts never fail to bless all of us, Bill. I’m not a Twitter pro, but I’d be happy to share what I know (For fun, I decided to leave the accidental rhyme in.) You or Mary are welcome to e-mail me at: purselanestudio@gmail(dot)com 🙂

      • Thank you, Wendy. If I have any questions, I’ll email you and ask what to do 🙂

  7. Paula on said:

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Something good to ponder. Bless you!

  8. Thank you for sharing this beautiful post, Bill. Thank you for showing us that, just as our Lord endured the unendurable for the joy that was set before Him, He gave you the courage to do the same when you were given a bitter cup of pain and suffering to drink, just as He had to on that terrible dark Friday when He bore all our sin and shame on His cross of suffering.
    I thank our wonderful Heavenly Father for you and for all of the beautiful insights He gives you to share with us through your blog. Your messages always brighten my day!
    May God bless and renew your strength, and encourage you with His measureless love for you, in Jesus name, amen. ~Suzanne

  9. As usual, you have inspired me and bolstered my faith. And I’ve never really thought about how “Good Friday” was not really a Good Friday. Thanks for sharing your heart and being so vulnerable so that all of your readers (especially me) can be encouraged. Take care and I hope you are well.

    • Thank you, Terri. As I was reading your encouraging comments, I was thinking they apply more to you than they do me. I have seen a steady progression of faith through your posts. It’s obvious that you have grown so much closer to Christ since your horrible accident.

  10. The weight of the cross you’ve borne all these years gives you great credibility, Bill. But you share the greatest message of hope there is for a wounded world. And your focus is always Christ. Words fail me. Thank you.

  11. Amen, Bill. Happy Easter…and a happy eternity!

  12. Every post you write inspires me, Bill, because you ARE running with endurance the race set before you, your eyes fixed on Jesus. Thank you for shining as brightly as Sirius–one of the brightest stars in the universe (Philippians 2:14-16)! (And please forgive the mixed metaphors.)

  13. Wonderful post my friend. I have long struggled with the “this isn’t how it’s supposed to be”issue. I guess time and (hopefully) a bit of wisdom has taught me that in this life, you get what you get,and there is not always any rhyme or reason to it.

    Surely,it is worth it all to know Christ our Redeemer, for we understand that one day this flesh will give way to bodies that will never again know pain. God’s plan for us is perfect,and may He grant all of us the grace and wisdom to continue to live for Him as you have,in spite of such adversity.

    Praying the Lord will touch you and yours this Easter.

    • Thank you, Ron. Yes, I’ve struggled with that issue too. I think every follower of Christ going through a trial fights to make sense of the “why me” and even “why anybody.” I wish I had all the answers, but today His grace is sufficient, and I think it will be for tomorrow too. One day at a time, Ron.
      Happy Easter!

  14. So grateful for you, for Mary, for Grace and Mercy in the gift of Resurrection Day! So delighted to hear from you and be humbly inspired by your testimony and witness of Jesus. You are a blessing ! Great love, Wynema

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