A Reason to Hope

Dedicated to Bill Sweeney, his wife Mary and their family

Some years are unforgettable, some we wish we could forget.

Just as 2001 marked the beginning of an era of fear from terrorism, 2020 marked the beginning of an era of fear from pandemics. The former featured attacks by a visible enemy, the latter attacks by an invisible one. In both cases, our response has been isolation: in 2001 we closed our borders, in 2020 we closed our front doors. But while protection from external threats is attainable, protection from internal threats—anxiety, loneliness, depression—seems increasingly unattainable.

Is there an antidote, not just to COVID-19 but to fear itself? We hear a lot of gauzy references to “hope” these days. But too often they sound like baseless bromides. Many self-proclaimed realists push back, reminding us that, sure, hope-plus-three-bucks might get you a cup of coffee, but the barista who sells it to you just might kill you.

But there’s a different kind of hope. One that isn’t based on circumstances. Because the harsh truth is that we’re all going to die “of” something, and we can never know just when or how.

But until then we can live, really live—if we choose to. Because the true meaning of hope is to live for a purpose, for something bigger than death.

Many years ago, I found hope as a fearful young man with nothing left to lose, at least nothing worth keeping. It wasn’t in the promises of scientists or politicians, or even family and friends. It was in the love of my Creator. And, no, it hasn’t made me immune to COVID-19, or the ravages of aging.

It’s the same Unshakeable Hope my dear friend Bill Sweeney lived for and blogged about, despite living 24 years with a condition that robbed him of all physical movement and speech. It’s the unshakeable hope that made him immune to real death, eternal death, and now—just days after his final post—has opened the door to eternity with his Creator.

And it’s why these words resonate so deeply with me:

“Do not fear what they fear; do not be shaken. But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. And always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you the reason for the hope that is in you.” ~1 Peter 3:14-15

Yes, I have a reason to hope.

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Quips and Quotes, Religion/Faith and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

61 Responses to A Reason to Hope

  1. Bruce Cooper says:

    Thank you for writing this Mitch, Bill and Mary are kind of special and a beautiful example of faithfulness, patience and God’s enduring love. May we all be as faithful and steadfast in our hope as Bill and Mary. And now our brother in Christ is home and one day we shall indeed all be together, and that will be one glorious day. Blessings to you and yours Mitch in the New Year.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Jennwith2ns says:

    Thanks for posting this; I have been very lax in keeping up with fellow bloggers (and my own blog(s)) in the last few years, but I used to follow Bill’s and was always inspired by it. I am grateful for your highlighting him and his beautiful example of hope and encouragement.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Dora says:

    No greater hope, no greater joy! Happy New Year, Mitch, and to your lovely wife and family.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Heidi Viars says:

    You brought tears to my eyes with this tribute. I am so grateful to be part of this community which so richly points us to the Hope of Heaven. Here we rejoice, laugh, and mourn. You are a beacon of Light, my friend. I am better for knowing you!

    Liked by 5 people

  5. I didn’t know about Billy and Mary until Heidi Viars wrote a post in his memory.

    You have a way with words, Mitch, and also a knack for telling a great story. But I suppose that’s par for the course in your line of work.

    I’m glad I found your blog.

    Prayers for Bill’s wife and children.

    Happy New Year, and God Bless.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Beautiful Tribute in honor of an amazing man. Beautiful Truth. Thank you for sharing, Mitch.

    Liked by 5 people

  7. Sue Cass says:

    A Beautiful tribute and may 2021 be filled with many blessings to you and your family. As Bill pointed out so many times through his blog, our hope, our salvation is in Christ. He was and still is, in our memories of his words, a tremendous inspiration to me and so many others.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Linda Lee/Lady Quixote says:

    Bill Sweeney’s Unshakable Hope was, and is, a great inspiration to me. He found his hope in Christ, a hope that is free and available to ‘whosoever believes in Him’, as it says in John 3:16. I thank God that after years as an agnostic atheist, I am a ‘whosoever ‘!I

    Isaiah 43:18-19 KJV
    18 Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.
    19 Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.

    Praise God! I am looking forward to a new thing!

    Liked by 4 people

  9. Kathleen Ellerman says:

    Exactly what I needed to be reminded of today. Thank you, Mitch.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. gifted50 says:

    Amen…I am so happy you posted this. What a remarkable man and the epitome of faith unshakeable…he is my hero!!!

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Happy 2021 to you and your family Mitch. Hope it’s full of hope and happiness buddy 👍😊🎆

    Liked by 3 people

  12. c.f. leach says:

    Beautiful dedication and inspiring post. Mr. Sweeney had the kind of faith we all need. That “no matter what” faith. No matter what happens or what it looks likes, I am still trusting God to the bitter end. This should be a true believers anthem. Blessings and Peace.

    Liked by 5 people

  13. Peace to you and yours Mitch.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Amen, Mitch. Thank you for this. Bill was a blessing to so many of us. We are praying for his family. God bless you.

    Liked by 4 people

  15. gpavants says:

    Hi Mitch,

    I knew he wasn’t feeling well, but didn’t know he passed. Thanks for honoring our brother. Happy New Year!


    Liked by 2 people

  16. marlagro says:

    Thank you Mitch for this tribute. I started following Bill a few months ago and am happy to know that he is with Jesus now. I will miss his unshakable faith.

    Liked by 3 people

  17. Thank you for once again shining a light on all the reasons to have unshakeable hope.


    Your blog post says it all.

    Have HOPE because we are not alone.

    Happy New Year Mitch!

    Liked by 4 people

  18. I certainly love this tribute made. He is in a better place.
    Happy new year to you, Grandpa! I pray this year brings forth good things and of course,a covid-19 free year! Stay blessed!

    Liked by 4 people

  19. Pingback: A Reason to Hope | Talmidimblogging

  20. anitashope says:

    Sadness for us as we will miss Bill’s strong faith. Over joyed in knowing he is now free. Thank you for this tribute. May you have a fabulous new year.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Please accept my condolences for the loss of your friend. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Beautiful tribute!
    “The true meaning of hope is to live for a purpose, for something bigger than death.” Amen!

    Liked by 3 people

  23. dharkanein says:

    First post that I read today, that is on 1st of jan 2021, is this. I am overjoyed and feel positive about life in this new year. Thanks for writing this. A very happy new year to you and your family.

    Liked by 3 people

  24. markbierman says:

    Part of the problem is the media, they thrive on creating fear, via sensationalism. You are so right, Mitch, we can rest in the hands of our Heavenly Father. Thank you for this uplifting post! All the best in 2021!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. cindy knoke says:

    Beautiful. Love the now & then photos.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. I loved reading Bill. We will really miss his wisdom and faith.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. SLIMJIM says:

    What a testimony his life was

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Arezoo says:

    very beautiful, thank you. Hope can be found with seeing meaning in everything, even in hardships…

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Bella Sasa Tati says:


    Liked by 2 people

  30. Mary Sweeney says:

    Mitch, Your blog post from yesterday showed this one in the “related” blogs below. I read it, and was encouraged as I was the day you wrote it. Thank you for you for sharing your story and wisdom with us. I Peter 3:14-15 is so good, such a good reminder to share our hope. Thank you again for the beautiful tribute.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Pingback: A Reason to Hope – Confessions of a wandering mind

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