Intimations of Hope

Running and crawling through waves of artillery, mortar, grenade and rifle fire, a young man risked his life to save his wounded comrades. Not just one time, but scores of times. Putting his own safety aside, he made his way through hellacious gunfire and mortar shelling to rescue the dying. He was a man on a life-saving mission that would not be denied. He was Desmond T. Doss, a World War II medic who was also a conscientious objector.

U.S. Corpsmen carry a wounded Marine on a stretcher to an evacuation boat on the beach at Iwo Jima while other Marines huddle in a foxhole during the invasion of the Japanese Volcano Island stronghold in this file photo of Feb. 25, 1945.

AP Photo/Joe Rosenthal

As a young man I remember being glued to the pages of the book The Unlikeliest Hero: The Story of Desmond T Doss1 as it outlined his heroics. Chronicling miracle after miracle, the book testifies about the care of God over his life that enabled Desmond to extend that care to others.

It can be argued that Desmond was simply committed to his role as a medic and that while unusual, he was just doing his job. That element is true but there’s also a more personal motivation behind Private Doss’s heroic actions. In his own words, Desmond explains it.

“They were my buddies…they trust me. I didn’t feel like I should value my life above my buddies.”2

They were not just people he was responsible for serving – they were people he valued. He gave the wounded and dying hope because they knew he would not forsake them and would do all in his power to rescue them.

And that brings us to this week’s lesson on Intimations of Hope. What is it that gives us hope? What gives us confidence in the promises that can only be claimed by faith? Just what is our hope built upon?

A part of the answer is in our value. We are valuable in God’s sight. You might think this goes without saying, but often I hear the opposite sentiments expressed about how God views us – terms like “filthy rags,” “wretched and miserable trash” are often used in a warped sense of humility. “We are nothing, but God will save us” is our summation of salvation.

If I view myself as less than nothing, it is hard to accept that God loves me enough to care about my life. My salvation is now driven by my complying to the letter of the law. My resistance to sin is not motivated by a reaction to God’s love for me as much as it is His tolerance of me. My hope is shaky at best and my doubts are stronger than my faith. After all, why would God care for me when there are other people more deserving of His love?

God loves us because He values us – enough to pay the ultimate price to restore us.

“For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:7-8

Being a sinner or ungodly does not equate to being valueless. Viewing ourselves as trash and going through life with our heads bowed down in shame is an indication that we do not appreciate who God made us to be nor how He views us.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.” Ephesians 1:3-6

A son has more hope in his father than a stranger would have. Why? Because he knows his father loves him and he can trust that that love will always work in his behalf. God claims us as His sons and daughters.

“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” Matthew 7:11

We can have hope because we know and believe God loves us and is caring for us and values us on our worse days, not just our best. We may not understand the circumstances of life we face. The sky may get dark at times and the feeling of loneliness may try to overtake us. Through it all we must believe in His love for us and that He will never leave us nor forsake us. Like Job, we must hold onto to our hope. Like Desmond Doss, Christ risked everything to save us.

“Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.” Job 13:15

Here are a few Hit the Mark questions for this week’s lesson discussion:

  • What does “trusting God” mean to you?
  • Describe some difficult areas of life to trust God with and why.
  • Is it true that God loves some people more than others? Explain your answer
  • If it is true that God loves me why then does He allow bad things to happen to me?
  • How can I be an instrument of hope for others?
  • Describe what heaven is to you.
  • How, if at all, does the true observance of the Sabbath increase my trust in God?
  • Is the following statement True, Mostly True, Somewhat True or Not True: Isaiah 64:6, “all our righteousness are as filthy rags” describes how God sees us. Explain your answer.

We close this week’s lesson with Peter’s the summation of our hope after he describes that final awful day of the Lord.

Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” 2 Peter 3:13

Until next week, let’s all continue to Hit the Mark in Sabbath School!


  1. The Unlikeliest Hero: The Story of Desmond T Doss is currently available only at a horrendous price, but you can get the updated version, Desmond Doss: Conscientious Objector at Amazon in both electronic and paperback format at a reasonable price.
  2. See https://youtu.be/JKdwsWdH3A4

Retributive Punishment

We often don’t know what we are talking about because our opinions are built around incomplete knowledge of the facts. This week’s lesson on Retributive Punishment serves as a prime example.

Although they expressed themselves with care and genuine concern, the friends of Job did not know what they were talking about. Their summation of the cause of Job’s suffering was wrong. They were convinced Job’s sin(s) was the cause of the calamities that had befallen him.

“If you would earnestly seek God and make your supplication to the Almighty, if you were pure and upright, surely now He would awake for you, and prosper your rightful dwelling place. Though your beginning was small, yet your latter end would increase abundantly.” Job 8:5-7

This sort of reasoning is ingrained into our thinking. Although we may not verbalize it, all of us have at times concluded that someone afflicted in some tragic way was simply reaping what they had sowed. And  who of us have not wondered the same for ourselves when we faced a personal crisis? Continue reading

The Curse Causeless?

Words matter. That’s the takeaway I received for this week’s lesson on The Curse Causeless.

This week our attention is on the words of Job’s friend Eliphaz. He was one of the three, who in their concern and respect for Job, came to see him after his life was turned upside down. I imagine it was the talk of many. Job was rightfully viewed as a righteous man and it must have been confusing to see him in a position that would normally be equated with punishment from God.

Remember, I pray thee, who ever perished, being innocent? or where were the righteous cut off? Job 4:7

I don’t fault Eliphaz for his misguided words. They seem quite reasonable for a friend to say. Job was in a terrible condition. As a friend, if I truly believed that God was punishing him for some infraction, I would want him to acknowledge whatever it was, repent of it and enjoin the mercy of God for restoration. That makes sense to me. Continue reading

Curse the Day

“42,773”

That’s the number of people who commit suicide each year in the United States where suicide is the 10th leading cause of death [1]. Depression, which has many causes, may not lead to suicide but it wears down the life forces of many. It is the leading cause of disability in the US among people ages 15-44 [2]. Lives that once had promise are reduced to hopelessness and despair.

This week as we study Curse the Day, we look at Job as he struggled with his new painful reality. What Job expressed then is repeated by many today.

“Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, there is a man child conceived.” Job 3:3

From week to week we examine the particulars of Job life. From afar we try to imagine what it must have been like to experience the calamities that befell him. The pain, darkness and despair, the unexplained causes he searched for, paint a picture of humanity experiencing the worse that life has to offer. How is possible for anyone to survive such circumstances? Continue reading

The Great Controversy

If the story of Job is a microcosm of The Great Controversy anticipated, we, the church, are in serious trouble.

Please allow my generalities for the sake of discussion. May it be true that you are an exception to the following.

As a church we talk often about the Great Controversy scenario of the end-time – that time in the not-too-distant future when the test of allegiance to God will become unavoidable. Our allegiance to the Sabbath gives us an advantage (so we think) over those who will one day have to choose between a “thus saith the Lord” and a “thus saith the government.” We enjoy a measure of satisfaction in knowing that we’ve accepted the validity of the Ten Commandments, including the Sabbath truth.

The great controversy of Job’s story unveils the forces of evil that would seek to cause us to turn our backs on God. It’s really a simple formula. What will a man do when he loses the blessings and protections of God?

“Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!” Job 1:9-11

Continue reading