Where Does Hope Reside? [v43]


WHERE DOES YOUR HOPE RESIDE?—Webster defines hope as “to cherish a desire (for something) with some expectation of obtaining it; to look forward to good with a measure of confidence: to have confidence (in); the desire with expectation or a belief in the prospect of obtaining.”

It’s been almost a year since the tragedy of “9-11” and, as a result of the terrorist attack, in a moment of time, Americans went from a feeling of great hope, a bright future, and comfortable security to fear, insecurity, uncertainty—and even despair.

In the wake of this tragedy, the repeated phrase on the lips of many people and the stories offered by the media has been, “Things will never be the same. American lives will be changed forever.” Fear gripped the strongest nation of the world on that fateful day. Both the economic and military centers of the United States were attacked. The World Trade Center crumbled to the ground and our economic security was shattered. The Pentagon was attacked, leaving us wondering how our world power had been compromised. Fear and humiliation grew in the minds and hearts of all Americans and people of other countries who believe in democracy.

America has operated, for many years, under a sense of innocence and of false security. We have felt that most of the forms of terrorism that have occurred elsewhere could not happen on our shores. But we are quickly finding that America is not a place of complete security. Our lives have been changed forever. Fear, frustration and uncertainty of the future flood our minds. The future seems unsure and we ask ourselves, “Does absolute security exist…anywhere?”

The situation we find ourselves in reminds me of a story about a father and his two children. They were swimming off the shore of New Jersey. The little boy was eight years old and the girl was ten. All were very accomplished swimmers.

But they got out too far and noticed that the tide was carrying them away from shore. Understandably, the father was the strongest swimmer, but not strong enough to have both of them hang on to him while he battled the tide all the way into shore.

So, he decided to have the younger of the two, his boy, would be the one to hang onto him. He turned to his little girl and said, “Honey, you’re a great swimmer. You can float on your back all day long, if you will just try…Now, honey, don’t get frightened. I’m going to take your brother to the shore and get help…I will come back for you!”

Before long, that area of the Atlantic was swarming with boats and swimmers looking for that little girl. Four hours later, they found her miles from the shore, floating on her back. Someone asked if she was afraid. She said, “No, daddy said I could float all day on my back, and said he would come back for me…I’m just doing what he told me to do until he came.”

WOW…what hope, confidence, and trust! Can you honestly say that you have the same kind of ‘peace’ that little girl had in spite of such a life-threatening situation? Do you have the same kind of confidence that you will be ‘saved’ when you are going through desperate circumstances? Do you have an ‘unshakeable’ trust that someone is going to come to your aid when you are in such dire straits?

On the evening of September 11th, President Bush quoted from the Bible, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me” [Psalm 23:3]. For the past year, in the midst of our sorrow and pain, many have encouraged us to turn to prayer, the comforting words of Scripture, and join them in deepest sympathy for those who are suffering.
(If you would like to investigate why God ‘allows’ suffering, visit this link:
http://www.4VIS.com/sfm/sfm_pres/sp_q5_d1_1of10.html )

The dimensions of the horror and the problems to be solved in this world are beyond human ability to understand. They have caused many to seek God for help. Billy Graham said, “We never know when we, too, will be called into eternity. I doubt if even one of those people who got on those planes, or walked into the World Trade Center or the Pentagon that morning thought it would be the last day of their lives.” Hopefully, the upcoming 9-11 remembrance will remind all of us that life is very precious—and can come to an abrupt end at any time.

Lisa Beamer, the wife of Todd, one of the brave men that rushed the cockpit of Flight 93 that went down in Pennsylvania, said, “It’s easier to forget about those deeper issues when life is good, but when a true crisis strikes and people’s earthly security is knocked out from under them, that God-given desire for looking above yourself and beyond yourself comes through.” (http://www.beamerfoundation.org/ )

The future is always uncertain in human terms. But there is a God, who knows the future. He makes a promise to those who seek and follow Him that we can find rest, even in times of trouble—and He desires for us to accept and cling to, “For I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” [Jeremiah 29:11].

Might I encourage you to vigorously consider life’s brevity and fragility in the light of God and eternity. Take a moment to consider the fact that this life, for all its beauty, is not all there is. When we die, when our loved ones leave us, we all go to another ‘world’…one that’s forever…in one of two places.

The Bible says that the only way to Heaven is provided by Jesus, God’s Son, who offers eternal life to all who believe in Him. Jesus said, “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in Me should stay in darkness” [John 12:46]. He also said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” [John 10:10]. Then He promised, “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” [John 16:33].

Maybe the opening question I posed should be reworded to “WHO DOES YOUR HOPE RESIDE IN?”

Just as the little girl floating in the Atlantic had unwavering confidence that her father would come back to ‘save’ her, Jesus said He was going to Heaven to prepare a place for us and He promised that He would return to take us back with Him.

God offers a personal relationship with Him. We CAN know Him. Through His power we can experience His peace and hope. We can only walk through the valley of the shadow of death without fear when we put our trust in Him fully.

If it is the desire of your heart to find His peace, express these thoughts to God. “Lord, I need you now more than ever. I want your peace of mind. In the midst of our broken hearts and pain, I turn to you. Jesus, I ask you to forgive my sins and to give me your peace and comfort. I open the door of my life and put my trust in you.”

If you sincerely expressed that prayer to God, you can know that you have a personal relationship with Him. He will be your comfort in these troubled times.

If you would like to investigate whether Jesus the only way to God, visit this link:



If you have a ‘neat’ story or some thoughts about an issue or current event that you would like me to try to respond to, I would be glad to give it a try…so, send them to me at: mbesh@ameritech.net

Thanks to:
Richard Bachman

We tried so hard to make things better for our kids that we made them worse. For my grandchildren, I’d like better.

I’d really like for them to know about hand me down clothes and homemade ice cream and leftover meat loaf sandwiches. I really would.

I hope you learn humility by being humiliated, and that you learn honesty by being cheated. I hope you learn to make your own bed and mow the lawn and wash the car. And I really hope nobody gives you a brand new car when you are sixteen.

It will be good if at least one time you can see puppies born and your old dog put to sleep. I hope you get a black eye fighting for something you believe in, I hope you have to share a bedroom with your younger brother. And it’s all right if you have to draw a line down the middle of the room, but when he wants to crawl under the covers with you, let him.

When you want to see a movie and your little brother wants to tag along, I hope you’ll let him. I hope you have to walk uphill to school with your friends and that you live in a town where you can do it safely.

On rainy days when you have to catch a ride, I hope you don’t ask your driver to drop you two blocks away so you won’t be seen riding with someone as uncool as your Mom.

If you want a slingshot, I hope your Dad teaches you how to make one instead of buying one. I hope you learn to dig in the dirt and read books. When you learn to use computers, I hope you also learn to add and subtract in your head.

I hope you get teased by your friends when you have your first crush on a girl, and when you talk back to your mother that you learn what ivory soap tastes like.

May you skin your knee climbing a mountain, burn your hand on a stove and stick your tongue on a frozen flagpole. I don’t care if you try a beer once, but I hope you don’t like it. And if a friend offers you dope or a joint, I hope you realize he is not your friend.

I sure hope you make time to sit on a porch with your Grandpa and go fishing with your Uncle. May you feel sorrow at a funeral and joy during the holidays.

I hope your mother punishes you when you throw a baseball through your neighbor’s window and that she hugs you and kisses you at Christmas time when you give her a plaster mold of your hand.

These things I wish for you-tough times and disappointment, hard work and happiness. To me, it’s the only way to appreciate life.  [Paul Harvey-Received from Richard Bachman]

Hope, like an anchor, holds to the unseen.  [Anon.]

In the midst of outer dangers, I have felt an inner calm and known resources of strength that only God could give. In many instances I have felt the power of God transforming the fatigue of despair into the buoyancy of hope. I am convinced that the universe is under the control of a loving purpose and that in the struggle for righteousness man has cosmic companionship. Behind the harsh appearances of the world there is a benign power.   [Martin Luther King, Jr.]

A parable is told of a farmer who owned an old mule. The mule fell into the farmer’s well. The farmer heard the mule braying—or whatever mules do when they fall into wells. After carefully assessing the situation, the farmer sympathized with the mule but decided that neither the mule nor the well was worth the trouble of saving. Instead, he called his neighbors together, told them what happened, and enlisted them to help haul dirt to bury the old mule in the well and put him out of his misery. Initially, the old mule was hysterical! But as the farmer and his neighbors continued shoveling and the dirt hit his back, a thought struck him.

It suddenly dawned on him that every time a shovel load of dirt landed on his back, he should shake it off and step up! This he did, blow after blow. “Shake it off and step up… shake it off and step up… shake it off and step up!” he repeated to encourage himself. No matter how painful the blows or distressing the situation seemed, the old mule fought panic and just kept right on shaking it off and stepping up. You’re right! It wasn’t long before the old mule, battered and exhausted, stepped triumphantly over the wall of that well! What seemed like it would bury him actually blessed him—all because of the manner in which he handled his adversity.

That’s life! If we face our problems and respond to them positively, refusing to give in to panic, bitterness, or self-pity, the adversities that come along to bury us usually have within them the potential to benefit and bless us. Remember that forgiveness, faith, prayer, praise, and hope all are excellent ways to “shake it off and step up” out of the wells in which we find ourselves!
[Author unknown]

There is hopeful symbolism in the fact that flags do not wave in a vacuum.  [Arthur C. Clarke]

A lighthouse stands by troubled shores
To aid ships caught in storm tossed seas.
For some, the harbor is too distant,
And no one, but God, hears sailor’s pleas.

A lighthouse gives off its light to lead.
Its brilliant beam is to bring ships home;
It provides that lone, radiant warning for the ships,
Of the rocks hidden in the foam.

A lighthouse gives hope for home and shore
When the sea seemed so vast and dark.
It is the light, for which the sailors watched,
As they prayed, God would direct their bark.

A lighthouse dispels the darkness of night,
Such power can be observed from miles away.
It never tries to guide a ship aground,
Or steer a boat astray.

A lighthouse gives reason for rejoicing,
Because the shore is now in sight.
The day will now soon be dawning,
And it will guide ships through the night.

A lighthouse is a refuge for the weary,
For those tossed by angry seas;
It is for those saddened by the loss of comrades,
Who were lost along the lees.

I want to be a lighthouse,
To be all that it is and so much more;
So that I can shine for those lost in the sea of humanity,
And guide them safely to the shore.

All people need a lighthouse,
A place where they can moor;
For each of us, face dark hours in life,
And there are rocks upon the shore.

Therefore, I want to be a lighthouse,
To guide the wandering back home again;
And provide a constant source of light,
That I might save the souls of men.
[Larry Harp]

– The human body can live 40 days without food, maybe 8 days without water, only a few minutes without air. But the human spirit can’t live for more than a few seconds without hope.

– To pursue something suggests that it is outside of us, that it is somewhere “out there” needing to be discovered or caught. But “true” happiness or “joy” does not come from without; it comes from within–-it is not dependent on outward circumstances, but on an inner mind-set. It’s a choice, not a pursuit.

– Consider what Victor Frankel, a Holocaust survivor, said in his book, “Man’s Search for Meaning”: “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms–to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

– If we pursue happiness instead of choosing joy, we will become, as Frankel put it, a “plaything of circumstance.” Our inner peace will be tossed back and forth according to the whims of events beyond our control. But if we exercise our “right” to choose our attitude, we can choose joy even in the midst of the cruelest circumstances.

Many of us search desperately for “circumstances” that will make us happy, while others choose joy—‘needing’ virtually nothing to give them joy. They ‘create’ their own joy, and ‘choose’ it now—making it a present reality. It’s not enough, however, to simply say, “I choose to be joyful”—we must “set our minds on things above, not on earthly things”—and God will help us ‘develop’ this attitude.  [Mark Besh]

Hope you enjoyed some of these insights—share them with your friends and colleagues—so we can have a larger ‘pool’ to receive from, and more to share with!

Also, remember to include your name as the “source,” if some of this wisdom is of your doing—I would like to give credit where credit is due!

“…God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence,  “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” [Hebrews 13:5-6]


Disclaimer: All the above jokes & inspirations are obtained from various sources and copyright are used when known. Other than our name and headers, we do not own the copyright to any of the materials sent to this list. We just want to spread the ministry of God’s love and cheerfulness throughout the world.

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