I think it is probably true that most if not everybody who reads this post is suffering from some sort of pain, illness or condition that affects their lives. It may not be in a massive way; now that summer is here my hay fever has kicked in which is a nuisance but not exactly an enormous issue. Still, when I think about it, it would be nice (really nice) not to have it. However, on the other hand, right at the other end of the scale many people suffer from life changing or life threatening conditions, which have a huge impact on their lives. I was speaking with a woman yesterday who suffers with arthritis and she was saying one of her aims in life is just to get through each day with as little pain as possible. Also in the last year or so a number of people I know (and know of) have been told the heart wrenching news that they have (or may have) cancer. This must be a truly shocking thing to hear.
I am amazed and inspired by what people find the strength to live with and through. Whether it is sickness or any of the other troubles life can throw at us. I am not naturally an optimistic person and so although I know there is much beauty in the world and happiness to be experienced in life I do not find it hard to be aware of the numerous problems which could occur in any given situation. However, even for the optimist the reality is that life is not all flowers and sunshine. Although life can be great, life is also hard and for some can even become unbearable.
Sadly a number of years ago for an old work colleague of mine this was the case, and so tragically he ended up taking his own life. The thing was he came across as one of the jolliest people in the office. I knew his life was not without real difficulties but did not know just how tough he must have been finding it. I don’t know the details but I assume amongst the huge mix of emotions he must have been feeling, he must have lost hope; hope for change, for a future, for the strength to live another day.
Sadly from my experience this does not seem to be uncommon. I have found what makes a huge difference in life, maybe even the difference, is having hope! With it there is reason and strength for tomorrow, without it meaning and purpose seem to drain away. Whether we are in a situation where life has brought us to our knees or we just feel like we need a little more meaning, purpose and motivation, either way and anywhere in between, genuine hope is essential!
Some have lost hope through life beating it out of them, others have achieved and received all they hoped for but in so doing discovered it was not in fact all it promised. Sometimes what we hope for actually turns out not to be all we hoped for after all. So sadly and ironically in the hope being achieved, hope is actually lost and fulfilment still not found!
So I guess the question is not only ‘do we have hope?’ But ‘what is our hope’? Is that in which we hope enough?’ Is it genuine? Is it secure? Does it follow through? Is it sufficient to sustain? Does it fulfil its promise?
I have become convinced both intellectually and experientially, both in my mind and my heart, in my thoughts and my feelings that although there are many good things in this world which I hope for, some achieved and many not, that only Jesus can give sufficient hope! Only Jesus is enough! That only he can give true life and meaning now and forever! That he not only claims and offers more than anyone or anything else, but that he follows through! So hope in him will not be disappointed.
That is why over the next two weeks we are putting on a couple of Healing & Hope events. On Sunday 12th July we have our Healing & Hope Sunday and before that, this Saturday, we have a stand at Northfield Carnival offering prayer for healing and hope to anyone who would like it.
On the Sunday just gone four people from church shared their experiences from over the past two years of Jesus’ healing power in their lives. This included a woman who came along to a Sunday meeting last summer on crutches (as she had torn a ligament in her foot). At the end of the meeting after receiving prayer at the beginning, she left still holding her crutches but not actually using them and carrying bags. At the time she did not straight away realise what had just happened. It was not until the next day she fully realised that although she had been feeling sever pain (she described in her experience as second only to giving birth) and could not walk she now amazingly was without pain and walking fine.
Also, we heard from a man who shared that last year he was told the awful news he had pancreatic cancer. However, he believed God was going to heal him and got a number of people praying for him. After two biopsies and four scans (but before treatment) he has now been told that the 2.9 cm growth is no longer there, nor are there any cancerous cells. All that remains is a 1.4 cm scare.
I do not claim to understand God’s healing, why some are and others not, but we are learning together to trust God and have seen God do some amazing things! Even if we are not healed of sickness or we have to continue in whatever difficult situation we may be in, if our hope in life, for life and beyond life is bigger, we can face and overcome whatever is thrown at us!
I do not expect those who do not believe in supernatural healing or Jesus to change their mind on either because of this post. However, surely Jesus is at least worth checking out. As if he turns out to be for real, to be who he claimed to be and to be able to do what he claimed to be able to do, then wow, that changes everything for all of us! Not just healing but what life is and what life is all about!
Would you like hope? Would you like healing?
Then please look into Jesus! There are many ways to do this but one way would be to come along to our Healing & Hope events either @ 3:00pm on Sunday 12th July at Northfield YMCA or/and check out our Healing & Hope stand at the Northfield Carnival on Sat 4th July.