As a young child growing up I dreamed of one day circumnavigating the globe on a sailing ship and living a life of fun and adventure traveling the seven seas while fighting pirates and rescuing the damsel in distress, and of course, finding the buried treasure. At the same time, I fell in love with poetry and books about adventure like Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain. By the time I was in my late teens I had read books by Rudyard Kipling, Longfellow, Robert Burns, Tennyson, Thomas Moore, Emily Dickinson and many others, and written poems of my own, but Robert Louis Stevenson was my hero. What drew me to Stevenson of course was his masterpiece, “Treasure Island.” What an adventure I thought. This is the life for me.
Stevenson (1850-1894), even at an early age, showed not only literary promise, but spiritual hope as well. As a child, he made a remarkable comment to his mother, “I have drawn a man’s body; shall I do his soul now as well?” At age 6 he dictated to his mother a history of Moses, along with a complete set of drawings of the Israelites and the Red Sea. Though Stevenson was a man with many talents, he was destitute of hope for many years. He ultimately married and moved to the Island of Samoa where it is rumored that he came back to the Lord.
I went on in life to travel around the world three times, even sailed through the English Channel in a 30’ sail boat on my way to do missionary work in Brazil. While I never encountered pirates at sea, I did capsize seven times and was ultimately rescued by the English Coast Guard and lay sick near death for over six months. At one point during my high seas adventure, with the winds over 40 knots, the seas higher than the mast, adrift at sea for weeks without food or water, I felt that all hope of being rescued was abandoned.
I have felt hopeless at other times of my life as well. Maybe you can relate. When our first child David was only one year old and couldn’t breathe, we rushed him to the emergency room where he lay hanging between life and death. In that moment God brought hope, and with it mercy. There was the time the doctor told me I had colon cancer, and then one year later another doctor diagnosed me with a small tumor right next to my brain. There was the time I landed my bush plane at the airport in Kenai Alaska and hit a pocket of ice, sliding sideways and nearly crashing into a row of parked aircraft. Then there was that huge bear that stood just seven feet away and leaped forward to have me for dinner. I was hoping God would be there as I called out to Him. During each of these trials, He was.
Then and many times since, I have needed Jesus’ rescuing power and the hope that He brings during the storms of life. Robert Louis Stevenson said, “It is better to travel hopefully than arrive”, indicating how hope can be pleasant while one waits on the desired results. The promises of God stand strong as an indication of certainty, and a tower of peaceful assurance. Hope is far more than just wishful thinking.
Dear friend, do you need God’s help today? Jesus can bring a new-found hope that has the power to strengthen, encourage and arouse a new awareness of God’s unfailing love for you. Drink deeply from the well of hope.