Still Living In Hope!

It’s hard for me to believe, but July 7th marked the seven-year anniversary of my Unshakable Hope blog. And, most surprising of all, after nearly twenty-three years with ALS, I’m still alive!

For Christians, the barren wilderness is a metaphor for life’s trials. I like this picture because rainbows, a sign of God’s promises, can be found even in the wilderness times of life. I also like that this wilderness path is wheelchair accessible.

I started this blog to share the hope I’ve found in Christ, with the goal of strengthening the faith and hope of other Christians going through trials. While in the midst of my own trial, this is one of the things that I believe God has called me to do. So many followers of Christ are going through difficult times. If anyone became a Christian thinking they would be exempt from trials, they will be sorely disappointed. Christians and non-Christians go through trials, the difference is that Christians can have peace and hope when life gets hard:

“…I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33).

Back in 2012, when I started blogging, I didn’t think about making new friends through my blog or reading posts on other blogs that would strengthen my hope and faith. This has been a great bonus. I now believe this is probably half the reason that God was prompting me to start my blog.

The name of my blog comes from a verse in the book of Hebrews. Seven years ago this month, as I was reading the Bible on my computer, just like I’ve done since losing my ability to flip the pages of a book thirteen years earlier, I scrolled down to Hebrews chapter eleven. This is one of my favorite chapters in the New Testament. It’s a chapter about holding onto faith while going through hardships. So many of God’s people have endured suffering by looking to Him for strength. This chapter lists several examples of true faith. These are men and women who refused to compromise their faith, even when doing so would have ended or lessened the trials they were facing. In short, Hebrews chapters eleven and twelve are about becoming eternallyminded.

The end of chapter twelve sums this up; telling followers of Christ to stay focused on our eternal hope. The temporary and material things can, and eventually will be destroyed. Created things, including the body we’re living in, will decay. In my case, ALS has turbocharged this process.

…the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.” (Hebrews 12:27)

After reading the Hebrews 12:27, I went online and bought the domain Unshakablehope.com and started this blog.

Unfortunately, trials don’t occur in a vacuum. The different parts of our lives are so interconnected that a trial of our health, like my being diagnosed with ALS at the age of thirty-six, affects virtually every other area of our lives. When I was diagnosed, it was as if an earthquake occurred; the career that God had blessed me with, and I had worked so hard to build, was removed. Because of this, our finances were greatly shaken. On and on it goes.

I won’t spend the time or waste the effort to list the “created” and temporal things that were removed or shaken in our life. Either you know firsthand or have witnessed the shock-waves and aftershocks that come from the epicenter of a horrible diagnosis, a job loss, a divorce, the death of a loved one, or another of life’s many earthquakes.

So many areas of our lives, including our health, can be shaken. But, if we look to God during our trials, our hope in Christ is one of the things that cannot be shaken.

Our hope in Christ is an Unshakable Hope!

“My soul, wait in silence for God only, For my hope is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be shaken.” (Psalm 62:5-6)

Please don’t put your hope in temporary and created things, not even another person, because everything we see with our natural eyes will eventually disappoint us.

“Don’t let happiness depend on something you might lose.” C.S. Lewis

About Bill Sweeney

In 1996, Bill was diagnosed with ALS (“Lou Gehrig’s Disease”) and the doctors told him he had 3-5 years to live. He is now completely paralyzed and unable to speak, but by God’s grace, he’s still alive and through his blog shares a message of hope in Christ - Unshakable Hope!

Posted on July 15, 2019, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 105 Comments.

  1. Bill, your blog is one of my top five favorites. The C.S.Lewis quote you ended this post with is perfect.
    Blessings to you & dear Mary ~ Wendy Mac

  2. Thank you for sharing from the abundance you have received from God. Once again your sermon has come timely and with memorable delivery. Psalm 62: 5-6 is my latest motto.

  3. Thank you for sharing this with us Bill. This post was a blessing. God had a great purpose for allowing you to start this blog. Indeed as believers, we have an unshakable hope in Christ. We are rest assured of His promises and who He is. God’s blessings unto you and may He perfect all that concerns you. Stay Blessed Bill 🙏🏿😊

  4. Thanks, Bill. I needed this today. Don’t we all? I’m so grateful to have connected with you through our blogs over the years. Your life inspires me with it’s unshakable hope. Jesus is our hope. Amen!

  5. Paula Johnson

    Congratulations on 7 years of blogging. I really enjoy your writings because they are so authentic. There is nothing worse when you are going through trials and for someone to says that everything is daisies & roses. Life can be difficult, but when we can walk that journey with a loving person(s) we find joy

    Bill, you, my friend are a loving companion to many people, pointing always to Our Lord. May the next 7 years be even more of a blessing to you. Thanks so much for your time & energy in blogging. Really enjoyed reading how God inspired you.
    Paula.

    • Thank you for your kind words, Paula. Trials are definitely NOT daisies & roses. Life is hard and trials make life harder. If it were not for God’s grace…

  6. Seven years and I just found your blog…what an encouragement you are brother. I will be back for more insight and wisdom from your hopeful heart. Blessings.

  7. Bill, I have nominated you for the Sunshine Blogger’s Award. See my Thursday post. 🙂

  8. Thank you for this. Your blog is so honest and encouraging, and this is what I needed to read today. Thank you for consistently sharing your story and your hope. Happy Anniversary!

  9. Bill – I am always so excited to read your blogs. I see your email in my inbox am I so look forward and know that I will be inspired. This one did not disappoint! Thank you for your brutal honesty, and yet intertwined with all of your hardships, is deep and abiding hope and faith. I appreciate you so much. You enrich all of our lives.

    • Thank you for your encouraging comments, Terri. I don’t know if everything you said (about me) is true, but I know those things, and so much more, are true about you. You inspire Mary and me so much! I know that other readers of your blog agree with me.

  10. I didn’t expect to make actual friends blogging, either, Bill, but I’m grateful to count you as one. Thanks as always for the reminder of the only thing that really matters.

  11. Amen and amen! Happy blog-iversary!

  12. Happy 7th Anniversary!! Your blog is one that I still visit and read.

  13. Thanks Bill for another encouraging message. It’s all about keeping an eternal focus. Concerning our blessed HOPE, I am convinced that acquiring our new bodies at the first resurrection is not too far off. Blessings, Ron

  14. This is so true of your blog – a word of encouragement in due season. Thank you for being faithful and true. Many more, happy blogging times. Love to you and Mary ❤

  15. Bill, my friend. You without fail continue to share the love of Christ. The good, the bad, and the ugly of this world has a wonderful golden lining because He loved us first. We are among the most fortunate because we know. Thank you for your heart and your continual encouragement, love you my friend ‘
    Don Schrock

  16. Congratulations on seven years of serving God and inspiring us all. You are a miracle, Bill – not just because by the grace of God you have lived far beyond anyone’s expectations, but because when life (or the enemy?) hit you with its worst, you have shown how much God can do with a soul submitted to Him – more than most of us with all our moving parts working.
    Keep writing, keep inspiring us. See you in heaven – I’m really looking forward to meeting you! – Annie

  17. Congrats on 7 years of blogging Bill! It’s very encouraging to read your testimony! I’m learning this lesson (slow learner here) to not put my hope in earthly things but to always, always look up and put my hope in what’s eternal. For me, it’s so easy to become wrapped up in getting better, and stronger that I begin to look at that possibility over the lessons God is teaching me in the midst of this storm. Thank you for this post and for your wonderful blog. Many prayers!
    ~Viv

  18. Amen. I miss you when you don’t post.:)

  19. Wonderful insight and encouragement from one who knows. ❤️

  20. Hi Bill. I feel like a late arriver at the party, but thanks for your blog, and your sensitivity and obedience to Holy Spirit as you write.
    Each of your blogs are an encouragement, as well as directing readers to Jesus, the Alpha and Omega, Author and Perfecter Of our faith.
    God’s Continuing Blessings Bill, looking forward to the next 7 years.

  21. Happy anniversary, Bill! I’m sure I speak for all your readers when I say thank you for every post you write, and for the encouragement you offer to other bloggers as well. God IS using you–your faith, your godly attitude, your gratitude in spite of circumstances–in a mighty way to minister hope and joy to all of us. We appreciate you and Mary very much!

  22. I join the throng of “witnesses” today in celebrating your 7 years bloggerversary, Bill. I’m so grateful to our Lord for the opportunity to be encouraged by you in your unceasing devotion to cling to our Unshakable Hope. Thank you for reminding us that we must be firm in our faith or else, we will not be firm at all (read this verse in my morning quiet time – Isaiah 7:9c) and upon reading your post, I thought – there goes one who is firm in his face. The Lord continue to bless you and Mary and your entire family large. May He never stop blessing and keeping you. May He continually make His face to shine upon You and be gracious upon you. May He always lift His countenance upon you, and bathe you in His Shalom. ☺️🙏🏽

  23. Always look forward to your blog posts!! Excellent as always and always encouraged when I read your posts. May God richly bless you my friend!!

  24. Thank you for the scripture reference in Psalm 62. It made my day! May God continue to bless you as you write.

  25. What a powerful post, dear Friend. I am so grateful Jesus overcame this world … and for your reminder today, Bill! Psalm 62 … my hope too! Praying for you and Mary!!!

  26. Congratulations Bill on 7th year, that it is so wonderful news! So thankful to God. Blessings to you and your wife.
    Yonnie💜
    InHisCare🙏

  27. Congratulations on seven years of blogging! You never fail to inspire and encourage me and so many others! God bless you greatly!!

  28. Bill, just as God has a plan for all of our lives, so do we all also have a destiny to fulfill. Who can say what that is for any of us? What I do know is that you, me, and every other believer are on the Potter’s wheel. It is upon this wheel that our Lord makes of us what He alone desires us to become. I told our congregation the other night that they should rename the Potter’s wheel to the “Wheel of Submission”, because that is what we all must do; forsake our will and submit to His.
    Blessings to you my friend. God has used you mightily these past seven years and I look forward to seeing how He uses you in the future.

  29. Love the CS Lewis reminder. Your blog is evidence of your putting to GOOD use the platform God has given you as a fellow sufferer due to an unexpected and unwelcome circumstance. You and Joni Eareckson Tada both have fought the good fight against self-pity and humble acceptance. I know the Father beams when he points out Bill to the angels.

  30. Bill,
    How did you decide to go on a vent? I’m still breathing on my own, and probably will for a while still but the doctors are continually asking me if I want it when the time comes. How can I answer something like this? Did you always know? I was 30 when I was diagnosed, though I had been sick for two and half years already. I have no children. I was in a relationship when diagnosed but that quickly ended. I met my husband here at the hospital though he lost his battle with ALS some time ago now. I guess I just don’t know what to do.
    Thank you Bill for your posts.
    Lisa Marie Da Ponte

    • I’m sorry you lost your husband, Lisa. Sad. You were so young when you were diagnosed. I was 36 and was one of the youngest patients at the ALS clinic. I am not on a vent, Lisa. I hope I didn’t write something that confused the readers of my blog. As for breathing without the assistance of my Trilogy breathing machine, I have good and bad days. I haven’t needed it since getting out of bed at seven this morning, but now that you mention it… 🙂 My breathing is also at the point that a neurologist would be urging me to make a decision. But I don’t go to a neurologist and haven’t in about 13 years. Now that I’m on hospice… You understand. This is definitely the most difficult decision those with ALS will be asked. I’ll be praying for you, my friend.

      • I’m sorry, Bill, I think that maybe I assumed you were on a vent. What is this breathing machine? I’m not even close to needing a vent but the doctors are always playing the what if game. I guess that’s the difference between being at home and being in the hospital. I was still up and about in my chair when I came to the hospital. My mom just couldn’t care for me at home. I don’t like the what if game. My life is not a game, you know?
        Anyhoo, thanks for the information.
        Lisa Marie

        • It’s a lot of work taking care of an ALS patient at home. Mary is a real trooper but she needs to bulk up 🙂 Do you use a Bipap when you sleep? The Trilogy 100 is recommended for people with ALS here in America. It’s classified as a non-invasive vent (you just wear a mask). I am using it right now. I don’t like the what if game either.

          • No, I’m not using a bipap yet. They keep testing my O2 and stuff at night and I am pretty much normal. I guess the next step will be a bipap or maybe I will look into what you are using. Like I said, I’m not quite there in my progression of my ALS. I never struggle for breath.
            Yeah, the what if game sucks! Especially with people like us. I sometimes think that I’m going to outlive my whole family. I lost my mom in 2011. Crazy that I am still here and she is gone. Being diagnosed with ALS, you think that you are going to be done soon and here we are going strong. I guess the big guy still has some things for me to do before I go home.
            Thanks Bill! xo

          • Yeah, Lisa, there are cases when the medical community does too much 🙂 I know people ALS who take so many prescriptions, it’s ridiculous. How long have you had ALS? I know that God does have a purpose for you, Lisa, it begins with strengthening your relationship with Christ. This, I am convinced, is the purpose for all of us. I am praying for you, my friend.

          • My relationship with Christ is strong my friend. I suppose that is why I have never questioned having ALS or dying. I have had ALS for, well let’s see… I was diagnosed in 2005 but like I said, I had been sick for about two and a half years prior to that. If you add that time, because let’s be real, I have been sick that long, I have had ALS for 16 and a half years. Wow! I was 28 when my symptoms started. Or, I guess almost 28. Crazy, eh?! I’m almost 45 now. I think the only regret I have is not having children. Never even close to having any. I guess it is not a regret really since I was not in a position to have them. More like I wish that I had the opportunity for children.
            Anyway, I know that I am here for a reason and I will carry on until I get to go home. xo

          • You were so young when you were diagnosed, Lisa, younger than me. I am so happy to hear that you have a strong relationship with Christ. I don’t know how people without a strong relationship with Christ get through horrible trials like ALS.

  31. It is for His purpose that you are still with us, Bill, en-COURAGE-ing us in the midst of our own afflictions and troubles!

    I love Hebrews as well; hope is one of the themes in Hebrews. Hope, the writer says, is “an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters into that within the veil, whither the forerunner is FOR US entered, even Jesus, made an high priest after the order of Melchizedek” (Heb. 6:19,20).

    I love that thought. Sure and steadfast– apparently it means that it cannot drift, drag, or slip; and it cannot break! It is as sure, as certain, as the One within the veil to whom we are anchored!

  32. I’m sure that over the years you’ve been blogging you’ve given hope ‘and’ increased the faith of many of your readers Bill… including me.. Take care Diane

  33. Bill you are such a blessing. I have to remind myself that as long as we are here God has something for us to do but that doesn’t keep us from being ‘homesick’ . thank you for being here.

  34. Dennis O’Banion

    Thank you Bill for helping keep us focused on our eternal hope in our Lord and Savior Jesus has more for us to share to those who will come to Jesus, “Our only Hope”.
    Keep Blogging my Friend!

  35. Thank you for sharing all these years! May God continue to bless your blog and bless you through it. Amen!

  36. Thank you for your inspiration. You are a living testament to the believers life of faith, adversity, and hope.

  37. Dear Bill —

    How grateful I am that you chose to undertake this blog! Your life is an enormous inspiration to the rest of us. Time and again I have been humbled by your suffering. Yet you do not wallow in self-pity. Far from it. Instead, you point us always to Christ.

    May God continue to bless and sustain you and Mary both.

    Your friend,

    Anna

  38. Thank you so much for sharing that “unshakable hope” here with all of us! You are a true blessing and shine forth HIS grace and strength in weakness. May I continue to learn more of His grace in my own life. Congratulations on 7 years blogging!

  39. Hi Bill, it’s always a joy to get a new post from you and see you sharing your faith! I still lift you, Mary and your family up everyday in my prayers. You have no idea how many times you flash into my memory, especially when it comes to the realities of the temporary and eternal. It seems every once in a while I get a glimpse of how soon this will fade away and what awaits us in the presence of our Lord. I’m pretty sure our cheeks are going to be sore from all the smiling we’ll be doing. I share your love for Hebrews, it’s like a pep rally that always lifts us up. Almost time for a new picture of you and your family out in the sun, I’ll be watching! Grace and blessings my friend.

  40. Don’t put your hope in temporary things! Best part of the blog!

    So many put their hope (belief that something good is coming) in something that absolutely has nothing to do with hope: a friendship, money, a nice house, a raise, a rescuer, revenge…then when it doesn’t pan out (surprise surprise) they give up on HOPE itself, not the objects or people they put their hope in. Our hope is in Christ, and he always delivers.

  41. Christ is our Anchor and as long as we hang onto Him the tidal waves of life won’t drown us. Blessings to you Bill and keep hanging onto Him. You are an inspiration to us all.

  42. A wonderful post! Congratulations on 7 years of blogging, God has surely ordained this blog for you. I can relate with you about many temporal things taken away. In all honesty, the distractions have been removed so I can have more of Him. There are lyrics to a song that say it all… “You took away everything. Now You’re my everything” Here’s the song https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rtXUDx6ZDgk God bless!

    • Thank you, Lori. There are so many distractions. The Parable of the Sower lists some of these. It takes daily focus to see Christ through life’s many distractions. He’s there!

  43. Congrats on your blogiversary!! Uplifting thoughts for a world that is rocking and reeling.

  44. Debbie Johnson

    Thanks, Bill! I can’t believe it’s been 7 years already since you started your wonderful blog. That is the perfect name for your blog and it’s nice to read the scripture that was the inspiration for the name. Thanks for being so faithful to share what God has given you and for the time & effort you put into each blog.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: