There is a remarkable story told by Harry Emerson Fosdick about the College of William and Mary in Virginia. The school was damaged and closed during the Civil War. When the war was over the college opened for a short time, but for some reason it was necessary for it to close again for a period of seven years. But every morning during those seven years the President rang the chapel bell. There were no students, no faculty, all the buildings were empty, the campus desolate. But President Ewell still rang the bell! Why? He rang the bell every morning as a way of sending a message: "Despite this present situation, the intellectual life will come back again and fill these empty halls with reality once more and be a dynamic power."
This morning I’m thinking about how my vocation through the years has been about “ringing the bell.” Whether anyone heard the bell or paid any attention to it’s ringing made no difference then and it makes no difference now. It is my duty and joy (I can do no other) to ring the bell; to send the message: “Love is at the heart of all things.”
Hope is a form of faith and produces what it sees. Despair is a form of faith, too, and it tends to produce what it sees. What do you see when confronted with a problem? Do you see new possibilities growing out of the struggle or do you give way to cynicism and despair? Hope hangs in; despair quits.
What if Moses had quit after the eighth plague in the story of the Exodus? No one could have blamed him. Pharaoh wouldn’t budge even after the waters of the Nile had been turned to blood, the frogs, the lice, the flies, the disease that killed the livestock, the boils, the hail and the locust swarms. It must have seemed to Moses that nothing was going to work. He had every cause to despair—and to quit! But Moses stood his ground with hope and after just two more “plagues” Pharaoh finally released the Hebrew slaves.
Do you live in hope or despair? Don’t quit! Choose hope! Hang in there!