Oct 27

Where do you go when all hope has been taken away? Can you still put on a smile, quote your favorite positive saying and look on the bright side of things? That’s what some say to do and if it only has to do with some negative events or a little stress or pressure in your life, then sure we can all suck it up and move on. But what about that gut punch that drops you to your knees mentally and emotionally what do you do then?

I remember what it felt like when they told me my wife had breast cancer at 32 years old and we had two small children at home under the age of four. And that was just me; what about my wife who had to hear those words? What do you do? Where do you go when all hope seems to be taken away?

It’s easy to say, “Change your thinking, be positive, tomorrow’s a new day” if you’ve never been there, but when you face that dark night of the soul that looks like a bottomless pit, then all that exhortation and happy talk is meaningless. So what do you do then? If you’ve never been there you will not know what I’m talking about, but hopefully you’ll keep reading and learn something so when that day does come you’ll be prepared. If you’ve been there like me, I’m sure you are ready to hear more.

Being a Christian doesn’t make me immune from the troubles of life. Sickness, death and grief will cross all of our paths at some point. But as a Christian I’m very interested in how God helps us in these situations. I look for real examples not pat answers and religious clichés, I don’t have time all the God-in-a box formulas everyone preaches today. I want real answers for real life, so I look to see what I can find.

In Acts 27 the Apostle Paul was being taken from Jerusalem to Rome as a prisoner which meant they had to sail the Mediterranean Sea. It’s in this record that I found what happens when all hope is taken away-you should read it some time to see the whole incident.

As they started to sail Paul warned them of trouble, but they refused to listen to him. After several hard days of sailing for lack of wind and a few stops they decided to push on because the wind seemed favorable. But as soon as they were out to sea they were caught up in a Hurricane.

At first they tried to ride it out or make their way to the edge, but had no luck. Then they started throwing everything overboard to lighten the load. They even used chains to tie the ship together from side to side so it wouldn’t break apart. But no matter what they did, they couldn’t break loose and were being carried along with the storm. Then comes that soul shaking verse…

“And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away.”

Do you see what is going on here? They had done it all, said it all, tried it all and nothing worked-it just kept getting worse. Then they reached that moment, that bottom of the pit when all hope was taken away. No affirmations are going to help here. These were Roman soldiers and seasoned sailors, they weren’t weak men and yet the verse records their state of mind-all hope that we should be saved was then taken away.

What do all the “Do-it-Yourselfers” do now?

Well, the record in Acts tells us what to do. Immediately after showing us that “all hope was taken away”, Paul steps up on the deck of the ship and tells every one to cheer up, that God has shown him that they are all going to be saved and only the ship will be lost.

Now I want you to understand two things here. First of all, when Paul said this, the clouds didn’t part, the sun didn’t come out and birds didn’t start signing. In fact they continued in this storm for a total of fourteen days, so nothing on the surface changed-except HOPE.

And that’s the second thing to see here. When all hope was lost and man could do nothing on his own, God sent hope because He is the God of Hope.

So what do you do when all hope has been taken away, you look to the God of Hope. The situation may not clear up instantly, but as long as there is hope, there is a way out.

Sep 23

In the middle of August I met with my Full-time
Coaching Group and told them that I had more
apprehension about the state of our economy this
Fall than I did last year at this time-and we all
know what happened last Fall.

I know everyone is telling us we are better off
and everything is turning around. Well, I don’t
buy it and I’m not alone. For the month of August
alone according to Google stats there were 90,500
searches for Disappointment, 368,000 for Rejection,
1,220,000 for Anger, 2,740,000 for Failure. At the
same time there were 7,480,000 searches for hope but
at the same time an amazing 13,000,000 searches for
losing hope. Now, how many of those searches were
for the song “Losing Hope” I don’t know, but the
fact that that title is even there has to say
something BIG.

Were you one of those 13 million who are losing hope?

You would think in a down economy most people would
be looking for ways to make a buck so I put the
appropriate terms in for that as well. The results
were 4,090,000 searches; now compare that to 7.48
million looking for hope and 13 million looking up
“losing hope”.

Well then people are probably looking for ways to
make it on the internet right? A mere 90,500 searches
showed up for those words.

This tells me people are more concerned about their
mental and emotion state right now than perhaps
anything else. When you lose hope, you lose life;
don’t let this happen to you.

Now I can’t produce a “Hope Package”, no one can
and if they do-walk away! But I can try to help
you think differently here in these emails and at
my blog at www.DukeClarke.com/blog . How does that
help? Because when you’ve lost hope you think
differently, which means you see things differently
AND you will act and respond differently.

If you have read my material you know up front that
I come from a position that God has answers and that
is where we start-not with any religion or denomination
just God.

This isn’t a “come on”, if you are like me there are
certain emails I don’t even open anymore because I know
that no matter what they “say” they are going to do,
it’s only going to offer partial info to get me to
pick up their newest whatever. Now they have a right
to make a living and I have a right not to open their
email.

So if you are one of the 13 million losing hope or if
you never want to reach that spot, check on my email
tomorrow because I’m going to do something about it.

Have a great day,
Duke Clarke