Hope Regained

GodReflection: A Secure Grip On Hope.

We have all been there. You probably would not have to think too hard to remember a time when you invested a massive amount of hope in a person, a situation, or a dream, only to see it evaporate.  Then, with the passage of time, the unpleasant experience in hindsight appears as a building block to regain a more solid hope than the one lost.

This series of posts calls me to refocus my hope. I find my imagination drawn back to the family tree. I am intrigued with the story of my great-uncle-doctor born in 1875, of Arkansas origin. Already an established physician, he set out in the company of five brothers in 1915, with hope of a day when the dream to build a ranch in the newly opened state of New Mexico, would allow him to sustain his life’s mission as a medical doctor.

One aspect of the story shines light on how God opens greater avenues for his people to serve him when a lost hope is refueled with a more ample vision.

After ten years, the Puckett Brothers ranch project failed with the Penasco River’s decision to go underground and cut off the grasslands of Hope, New Mexico. The bankrupt doctor-brother followed a renewed hope with a move sixty miles south to the town of Carlsbad to become a fulltime health official for Eddy County. In 1926, public heath was not a headliner topic.

In hindsight, I suggest the doctor’s failed dream in Hope, New Mexico, propelled him into a future where he could be used by Creator God to see the love and care of Jesus morph into wide circles of influence. What the Holy worked through him still bears the fruit of hope in various corners of our world.

When the aspiring health officer arrived in Carlsbad, I suspect there was a revival of hope. Over the next three decades he witnessed his daily work through vaccination and public health extend the lives of hundreds. Fred West, owner of the funeral home, in a humorous jab at the doctor, joked of the unfortunate situation of doing business in the best immunized county in the state due to Dr. Puckett.

I knew Dr. Puckett as family and as a member of our church in my early years. At every church service, from day one, he would make it a point to greet me with a handshake and a twinkle in his eyes, a warm act always anticipated by a little boy. He and Aunt Clevil always sat on the second church pew from the front on the south side of the auditorium.

Parallel to his public health service, his leadership within our congregation of Jesus followers saw the light of hope ignite the community and other areas of our globe with eternal life found in Jesus alone.

In 1926, he and Aunt Clevil started our congregation with two other couples in the Puckett home. The new group, inspired by Dr. Puckett, grew to eventually plant five other churches in the city and the Lakeview Christian Home of the Southwest for elderly care.

The church did what it could to support Jesus’ mission in the state, the Philippines, England, and the youth who grew to leave home and work in other cities. Dr. Puckett was a Jesus-centered leader who served the church as an elder until his death at the age of ninety-three.

I still remember my last conversation with him at his home just weeks prior to his death. He knew death was near due to a recent stroke he felt in one of his fingers. Our visit centered on his hope (confidence) in Jesus. He was ready to meet the Great Physician.

He also spoke of his hope to see the news of salvation in Jesus shared across the globe. I had just turned twenty-one and planned to move to South America the following year. There he sat in his favorite chair—the picture of hope regained. Hope was alive. He could not have encouraged a young man more.

Let me finish where I began. Will you recall once more a time when you invested a massive amount of hope in a person, a situation, or dream, only to see it evaporate.  Can you see, with the passage of time, how Holy God made it a tool to regain a more solid hope than the one lost? And has that experience help you gain the hope (confidence) of your eternal life forever with the Holy?

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection on Hope Regained. 





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