In Encouragement, Stories

Bob Goff Interview | helloHOPE

We had the privilege of speaking with Bob Goff the day after a local speaking engagement. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller Love Does and is an inspiring, humble and loving person. We enjoyed the stories and insights in his book so much that we were anxious to hear his perspective on hope and dealing with medical challenges. Here is our conversation: 

Andrew: The stories that you tell are so practical and inspiring in loving people. What would you say to someone struggling to find hope in the middle of their circumstance?
Bob: You know what I wouldn’t do is give them advice that rhymes. Sometimes when people are super well intentioned, they say things to people to try to give them some comfort, and it just kind of backfires. They didn’t mean it to, but we just need to be super mindful of that. Try not to identify with somebody’s pain or relate to it or compare it to mine; just try to compare it to theirs. I met a guy today that got shot in both legs, and I don’t try to relate that to the time I broke my toe. Don’t try to relate to people, just love them. Just be really with them, and that’s enough.

A: What is the wildest thing you’ve ever done for someone who was bedridden at home or in a hospital?
B: Did we talk about Carol and the problems she had? I think that’s it. That was really meaningful for me, and I think it was for her as well.
[Bob had shared a story the night before about Carol, his neighbor and friend, that was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He told a few stories of their journey, and one of them started with Bob asking Carol if there was anything she had ever really wanted to do but hadn’t had a chance to yet. Her response: Toilet paper someone’s house! Bob proceeded to tell the story of how they rolled a person’s house (at 4pm in the afternoon!) together. The story is funny, but it also illustrates Bob’s perspective in our first question: Be with the person and love them. I’m also pretty sure that you can’t spend extended periods of time with Bob without laughter.]

A: How would you describe a time when the Lord was your rock and hope?
B: I’m getting on a plane to Somalia right now, so that’s a pretty rowdy place. That would be a time. I don’t know if one in particular comes to mind, but usually when things have gone wrong, which is often. I’m not trying to keep track of the number of them, but I’m not trying to think of all the things that go right, too. Just constantly saying, “God, I’m going to do my part to show up and love people, and you’ll do your part, which is be in charge of keeping everyone safe.” I’m not freaked out by it. Just take the next step.

A: Who is the most hope-filled person you’ve ever met?
B: Oh, Trent Walters. He’s an Atlanta guy; he’s like hope on wheels. Go find him.

A: What is your definition of hope?
B: I think of hope and expectation a lot. They kind of have the same birth parents: anticipation. Sometimes expectation gets a bad rap. I think you should be constantly expecting everything. Just don’t expect things from each other. But expect that God’s going to do terrific things by you, through you, and hopefully because of you. Living constantly in anticipation and expectation. That’s what hope means to me.

We left our time with Bob feeling so thankful for the time he took to share his perspective with us. I love what he said about finding his hope in God when the situation is unsure: “Just take the next step.” Bob continues to do just that as he builds schools and fights for human rights through this organization, Restore International. His joy is a bright spot, and we are inspired to continue taking steps to bring that same joy to others! Thank you, Bob!

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