Illustration results for hebrews 11:40
You may recognize the name of Florence Chadwick. In 1952, Florence was the first woman to attempt to swim the 26 miles between Catalina Island and the California coastline. As she began this historical journey, she was flanked by small boats that watched for sharks and were prepared to help her if she got hurt or grew tired. Hour after hour Florence swam, but after about 15 hours, a thick, heavy fog set in. Florence began to doubt her ability, and she told her mother, who was in one of the boats, that she didn’t think she could make it. She swam for one more hour before asking to be pulled out. As she sat in the boat, Florence found out she had stopped swimming just one mile away from the California shoreline, her destination. Florence explained that she quit because she could no longer see the coastline-there was too much fog. She couldn’t see her goal.
Two months later, Florence got back in the water to try her task once more. This time was different. She swam from Catalina Island to the shore of California in a straight path for 26 miles. The same thick fog set in, but Florence made it because she said that while she swam, she kept a mental image of the shoreline in her mind. She didn’t lose sight of the shore because she focused on that image of the coast in her mind, and in this way, she reached her goal.
If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulder of giants. --Isaac Newton
From Chicago to Memphis
That’s always how it is in the life of faith. Many times you will be called to step out for God and you will be precisely where Abraham was—believing God but not knowing what the future holds.
When I think of that principle, my mind goes back to a conversation I had with Dan and Linda Hoeksema at Family Camp a year and a half ago. They were agonizing about whether or not they should move to Memphis. I remember having a long talk with Linda one night around the campfire. She had struggled so much with leaving the familiar surroundings of Chicago. Moving to Memphis for her was like going to a foreign country. The whole decision was made more difficult by the fact that Dan had no contacts in Memphis, no job, no promise of a job, no reason to move there at all, really.
Except one. Len and Roberta Hoppe had already moved to Memphis where Len had taken a new job. We all knew that Len and Dan were close friends and I think many of us assumed that Dan wanted to move to Memphis simply because the Hoppes were there. Frankly, it didn’t make much sense for the Hoeksemas to go to Memphis.
But that night around the campfire Linda told me that she had finally decided to go and that she was trusting God to work out the details. So they went, and it would be fair to say that the first year in Memphis proved to be quite difficult. There was the culture shock, the language difference, the impact of moving from a huge metropolitan area to a much smaller city, the challenge of making new friends, getting the kids settled in school, finding a new church, and on top of that, Dan didn’t have much work for a long time.
But life changed forever last Thanksgiving when the doctors told Len Hoppe that he had cancer. Here’s one fact that you may not know. On the Thursday before Len’s surgery here in Chicago, he and Dan had a last lunch together in Memphis. Len knew full well that there was a good chance he wouldn’t survive the surgery or the recovery period. So he asked Dan to take care of his family in case he died.
After Len’s funeral, Marlene and I flew to Memphis for the memorial service at the Central Church. When Dan drove us to the airport the next morning, we passed by the restaurant where he and Len had shared their last meal together.
“Many people wondered why Linda and I moved to Memphis,” he said. “I wondered myself many times, particularly when I didn’t have a job here. There were many times when I questioned whether we had done the right thing or not. But now I know why God sent us here. He knew beforehand that Len was going to die and he wanted us here t...
WHY WE CELEBRATE THE 4TH
But there is a reason why we celebrate on the 4th and we can’t forget that! It was the day the day the colonies declared their independence from England. Freedom was declared in some famous words of the Declaration of Independence, which starts:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
And it was signed first by John Hancock and then by representatives from all the states. We still honor John Hancock by saying, "Put your John Hancock on there," whenever we ask for a signature. If you want to get a blank stare, ask someone for their "Josiah Bartlett." He’s the second guy to sign, but nobody remembers him.
This was an exciting day! A day of joy and celebration. But what followed was anything but a simple joy or easy. You see, every Independence Day, my thoughts race ahead to what followed July 4th. Actually they run all the way to December of 1776. They go to this point in history because it’s here that that history shows us how brittle and fragile was the hope of independence.
George Washington was commanding an army that was disintegrating before his eyes. It looked as if all hope for victory was gone. He had made a military blunder that had lost New York to the British Army. The Congress had fled from Philadelphia because the city was seen as a lost cause. The Continental Army was low on gunpowder, guns, food, and other supplies. The civilians that had celebrated so heartily on July 4,5,6th, were now wondering if it would be wisest just to give up at this point. Most of the soldiers would finish their enlistments on December 31, and other didn’t wait that long and simply deserted. George Washington’s Army was about to be destroyed by British troops and German Mercenaries (Hessians). The future of America was hanging on by a thread.
Which makes the events of Christmas Day 1776 all the more amazing. Washington led his troops across the Deleware River against incredible odds. There was hail and sleet, and iceflows. The operation took hours longer than originally thought. Two of the generals failed to join in the fight because of the bad conditions. But Washington led his troops against all odds on a nine mile march and defeated the better trained and equipped Hessians and turned the war around. An almost impossible mission completed, and a seemingly undefeatable enemy, defeated. The future hung by a thread, but a thre...
In the book, Jesus Freaks, is the story of the Hine family. They lived in Cambodia during the Vietnam War. At that time it was very dangerous to be Christian in Cambodia. They were arrested one day for being Christians and thus enemies of the revolution and bad blood.
One morning the whole Hine family--father, mother and children--were brought out and made to dig their own graves. Before they were shot the soldiers gave them the permission to kneel and pray. Hine, the father, even prayed for the soldiers as the family held hands. Just then one of Hine’s young sons, so terrified and frightened in the face of his death, bolted off and ran into the woods. Hine, the father, kept his composure and asked the soldiers not to chase after him. He said, "I’ll call him back."
And so he called out to his son in the woods and he said, "Son, what possibl...