By Rev. Dr. Ed Hird
Our hearts were created to be filled with rising hope. For each of us in this New Year, hope is a choice. Will we be hopeful or hopeless, thankful or thankless, joyful or joyless? The late Billy Graham said that people in the most affluent societies are feeling this sense of despair and hopelessness.
William Barclay memorably said that there are no hopeless situations, only people who have grown hopeless about them. After the fall of France to Nazi Germany, Britain stood alone. Winston Churchill said to his cabinet: “Gentlemen, I find it rather inspiring.” There is something in hope that not all the shadows can quench. Emily Dickinson wrote: “Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops at all.” Alexander Pope in his famous Essay on Man memorably stated “Hope springs eternal in the human breast, Man never is, but always to be blest”
For many people, hope has become equivalent to wishful thinking. The term ‘I hope so’ often means ‘don’t count on it’. Real Hope however doesn’t mean maybe, could be, or possibly. It is an assurance of what is to come. Hope is rising expectation of good things right around the corner.
Dr McNair Wilson the famous cardiologist said in his autobiography Doctor’s Progress: “Hope is the medicine that I use more than any other – hope can cure nearly anything.” Dr. Harold Wolff, Professor of Medicine at Cornell University, commented: “Hope, like faith and a purpose in life, is medicinal. It is not exactly a statement of belief, but a conclusion proved by meticulous controlled scientific experiment.” You can take rising hope to the bank in terms of its practical impact on our lives.
In John Bunyan’s bestseller Pilgrim’s Progress, it was Hopeful who comforted Christian in Doubting Castle. We are called to be a people of Hope. As one song puts it, hope is a candle, a light in the window, showing the heart how to come home. With God, all things are possible. Billy Graham, who recently turned 98, said: “I’ve become an old man now, and I’ve preached all around the world. The older I get, the more I cling to that hope that I started with many years ago.” Faith, he commented, points us beyond our problems to the hope we have in Christ.
Dr. George Johnson of Harvest City Church said recently that 2017 will be the greatest year that we’ve ever experienced. There are so many good things to look forward to, including Vancouver Missionsfest and the July 1st Canada Day Voices Together Celebration. In just two months, there will be a Festival of Hope at Rogers Arena. The Billy Graham team, including his son Franklin Graham, will be there, sharing a message of rising hope and encouragement over the three nights. I was privileged two years ago to attend the well-attended Greater Toronto Festival of Hope. The music was impressive with top bands and local musicians involved. The spiritual hunger especially among the young people was significant. I have served over the past two years to serve as a representative on the Greater Vancouver Festival of Hope Executive. You are invited to come on March 3rd to 5th and experience a rising of hope in 2017.
Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector
-an article for the January 2017 Light Magazine
-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback andebook form. Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.
In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).
Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form. Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.
Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version. You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.
To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.
– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD. This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.
-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca