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 Great Inheritance

Wouldn’t it be great to inherit millions of dollars from a distant relative that you’ve never even met?
Unfortunately, this rarely happens, but I did get an email from Nigeria…

When I was fifteen years old, a great uncle, who I was named after, passed away and left me a gold-plated pocket watch with his/my name engraved on the back and a thousand dollars. I had never met this man, but he instantly became my favorite uncle. I was determined to be responsible with my newfound fortune so I opened a savings account and deposited the check. A few months later I turned 16, got my drivers license, and crashed into a tree in my sister’s car. I had to say goodbye to my great inheritance.

I thought a lot about material wealth while watching horrible images on TV of hurricane’s Harvey and Irma destroying homes and businesses in Texas, Florida, and other states. And, as I’m typing this blog post, I’m glancing at the TV and seeing more horrible images caused by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, and a powerful earthquake in Mexico City. It’s heartbreaking.

We live in Southeast Texas, and we’ve seen the destructive power of these storms. So many people we know were flooded out of their homes from Hurricane Harvey. Thankfully, we were not among them.

A week after Hurricane Harvey destroyed so many homes and businesses in our area, my visiting nurse, Rebecca, came to our home. She visits me every month to confirm that I am still alive. Rebecca is a Christian and a single mother of three young boys. She told us that she and her boys had to flee their rental home as the floodwaters began to creep in. There was no time to move furniture and other valued possessions upstairs. The muddy water quickly engulfed the whole first floor, ruining everything it swallowed up.

Nine years ago, Hurricane Ike swept through Southeast Texas. Even though we live 80+ miles from the coast, we still had hurricane-strength winds at our home. The strong winds left our area without electricity and, because we have a water well, without running water, for seven days. We and most of our neighbors have generators because we’re prone to natural disasters and occasional power outages. My friend, and then next-door neighbor, Les, set up a little window air conditioner in our bedroom and kept our generator running 24/7.

Mary and I were sound asleep in our cool bedroom, while poor Les was yelling for us to call 911; their house was on fire! By the time we made it outside, their beautiful home was fully engulfed in flames; there was little the firefighters could do. We later learned that the cause of the fire was a faulty extension cord running from his generator to a fan in his home. Something so small, took so much. Thankfully, Les’s wife and kids were staying with relatives so everyone, except the family dog, escaped the flames.

How quickly our earthly treasures can be taken from us.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust (earthquakes, floods and fire) destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)

Where is your heart today?

Jesus gave the Apostle Paul, the disciples, and all followers of Christ our marching orders:

“…open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.” (Acts 26:18)     

Jesus wants all people to trust and hope in the inheritance that He suffered, died, and was resurrected to secure for everyone who “calls on His name.” This is the Great Inheritance, it’s an eternal inheritance.

We are living in uncertain times, our wealth, and, as I learned 21 years ago, our health, and even our very lives, can be taken from us In a moment.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you…” (1 Peter 1:3-5)

The Bible tells us that everything we see can, and will, be shaken. Only by putting our faith in Christ will we have Unshakable Hope.


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93 thoughts on “A Great Inheritance

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  1. This is so true. We often place our faith and love in things that are temporary. Our eternal salvation is the most valuable “thing” we can ever have!
    I have learned in my own experiences how quickly circumstances/finances/health can change. It was a real eye opener. It was also painful, yet it did force me to looking at life in the proper perspective and value my relationship with God that much more. I enjoyed this post as always! 🙂

    • Thank you for your encouraging comments, Lilka. Life teaches us that the only constant is change, and, unfortunately, with age, those changes are usually not for the better 🙂 But, for followers of Christ, we have another constant – our eternal hope. I’ll meet you there.

  2. Hey, Bill —

    You’ve been on my mind lately. I’ve been dealing with some new health issues, and your faith is a great inspiration to me. You are among the “cloud of witnesses” Paul described at Hebrews 12.

    We often suppose our situation is unique. But the world has staggered under suffering for ages. Twenty five million people in Europe are thought to have succumbed to the Black Death. Twenty to fifty million worldwide died in the flu pandemic, just a hundred years ago. Countless others have died of war and famine.

    Of course, our suffering is uniquely important to us. It is intensely personal. God uses it to refine and transform us into the image of Christ. And we can dedicate it to the good of others.

    Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen wrote in “Our Grounds for Hope”:

    “No suffering is wasted!
    As clouds carry rain over mountains,
    So your patience with cancer
    Your resignation to withered limbs,
    Rebounds to some soul in Ceylon
    And helps a missionary in Seoul.

    The greatest tragedy is not what people suffer
    But that they have no one whom they love
    To whom they can offer their cross.”

    Your friend,


    • Hello, Anna,
      I’m sorry you are having health problems.
      I really like what Archbishop Sheen wrote. I also like what you wrote. I think it’s so important to view “our” suffering in the context of human suffering as a whole. It seems that in America (when we have a health problem) we have the luxury of viewing our trial as “it’s all about me.” They don’t have that luxury of denial in third-world nations where the the person having health problems is surrounded by others going through horrible suffering. I am intentional about viewing my trial from a third-world perspective. In this way I can be so grateful to God for blessing me with things most Americans take for granted; air conditioning in the summer, heat in the winter, a really comfortable hospital bed… I have a really long list of things I’m thankful for, and on this list is the many blogging friends I’ve made over the last 5+ years, people like my friend Anna 🙂

  3. Well written and true. On another subject, my wife is a graduate of Conroe High.

    • Thank you, Cowboy. What a small world! I’m from Chicago and Mary grew up in Houston, but Mary’s best friend graduated from Conroe high in 79. She’s probably older than Miss Sugar.
      Have a great Sunday, my friend.

  4. Amen, dear Bill, to investing and trusting ourselves to the Unshakable Hope–Unshakable Inheritance–we have in Christ. Everything else is “fuel for the fire.”
    I recently crashed my car and blew my clean driving record to smithereens. Praise God for no injuries and good car insurance. I guess our time isn’t up yet. 🙂
    Blessings ~ Wendy

  5. Amen. Tragic and lovely…lovely because it points to our One and only True Inheritance, being with Jesus in eternity. Thank you.

  6. The what really matters has again been addressed Bill in your excellent fashion. Thanks for the look upwards…Doug

  7. Thank you Bill, again for sharing what the Lord is doing in your heart and life. Your unshakable hope encourages so many others. We include you and your family in our daily prayers for His continued blessings. It is always good to hear how He is answering our prayers. Much love through our Lord Jesus Christ. Fran

    • Thank you so much, Fran, for your encouragement and especially for your prayers. I truly know that the prayers of others have sustained us through the most difficult times.

      • Yes, we know this from our own experiences. That is why we are able to lift the name and needs of others to the throne of grace. He waits for us to call upon Him, so that He can share His mercy and grace with His people.
        Have a blessed day, knowing He cares for you and your family as He does for all His.

      • Amen. Thank you, Fran.

  8. I just finished reading this and your two previous posts. Remarkable. You touch my heart, my memory and my life in ways no one except my sister Diane did. And I marvel at the strength of your voice and your witness. Thank you for sharing from your heart and encouraging us on our way.

  9. Remarkably poignant. Thank you.

  10. Anonymous on said:

    Once again, you leave my heart happy. I so enjoy your blogs, your courage and your commitment. God Bless YOU!

  11. Amen, Bill. As always, I appreciate the authentic “been there” quality in your words.

  12. Bill, your knack for seeing the hope in the mess is a blessing. My daughter was in Puerto Rico for two years on a short-term mission–her friends are without power, water, food, fuel and no way of getting through to others. Family friends in Harvey’s path shared how they were rescued from their second floor because their first was flooded. People buried in Mexico’s earthquake–to say nothing of the mudslides in Nepal and other areas. Life has no guarantee that it will work like we want. I so appreciated your insights, especially from the perspective of suffering from ALS for 21 years. It would be easy for you to get cynical and calloused, but God has gifted you with a humble and gentle heart that sees through His eyes. Thank you.

    • Thank you for reading and commenting, Dayle. Even for followers of Christ, becoming cynical and calloused is a great temptation when going through a long and difficult trial. It’s only by relying on God’s grace that we can stay in a place of joy and peace, and, hopefully, help others to hope in Christ.

  13. I always know before beginning your posts I will end with something magical ignited in my heart. So grateful I was right, once again! Thank you for continuing to use your gift for igniting in all of us the hope which is indeed ever-lasting. Hugs & Blessing, my blogging-friend!!

  14. Amen! While preparing for the hurricane, I realized my storage unit was in an area predicted to be buried under storm surge. There was no way to move anything and no place to put some treasured items like my great-grandmother’s hope chest full of childhood keepsakes and all the letters and cards my kids and grand kids have given me over the years. But as sad as the prospect was of losing those things, I determined they are that – things. They hold sentimental value because of the memories attached, but the most important treasure is my relationship with Jesus. I’m so glad my eternity is secure no matter what earthly disaster comes. In the end, no water touched the storage facility! A miracle. And I’m glad not to have lost things or had the chore of clearing out a mess, but my joy is because of Christ, not the items in my storage unit or home. Thanks again for another great post!

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Laura.
      I’m so glad your storage unit didn’t get flooded. I have a friend that owns two storage facilities and one of them was flooded by Hurricane Harvey. I feel bad for those who lost keepsakes and sentimental items… But, as you said, our most valuable treasure cannot be destroyed by hurricanes, earthquakes or anything else!

  15. Awesome, AWESOME post!!!! Great Word indeed!! God bless you continually!!

  16. Suffering does re-order our priorities like you point out and as you live day by day. And at age 60, I see my call to encourage those around me, especially women who are growing in their faith and having to battle lots of trials with wobbly trust. The ‘suffering’ my husband and I go through is tailor made for us…and it involves vocation and income. I reminded Mike last night that if God wasn’t using this area to keep us so very needy, it would be in another area. Our faith becomes more valuable as he beats it like silver and heats it up like gold. And it hurts. Thank you for writing and I am aware that it costs you a lot, Bill!

    • Thank you for your comments, Maria. “Wobbly trust,” I like that.” I pictured a “Weeble” (“Weebles wobble, but they don’t fall down.”). Unfortunately, we do fall down, but with the help of Christ and other Christians, we get back up again and again.
      “For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again…” (Proverbs 24:16)

  17. Pingback: “A Great Inheritance” 9/23/2017 Written by my friend Bill Sweeney, stricken with ALS almost 21 years ago | God's group

  18. Hey! Hey unshakable hope!
    You live 80 miles from the coast?

    My wife and I live in Katy Texas, and we’re both from Anahuac Texas.

    Are you near us?
    Man I’d love to get to know you personally brother.

    I know you’re disabled and have mobility limits, but I would love to meet you in person.

    Holler at me.

  19. An excellent post, Bill. Thank you for encouraging us to meditate on what is truly important, our eternal Treasure, the Gift of Heaven Who cannot fade or rust, nor ever be stolen from our hearts, and from whose measureless love we can never be separated ~not by any storm, trial, or natural disaster~ our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. May God bless you forever, in Jesus name, amen.

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