There is always hope

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‘May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.’ Romans 15.15

Darren Holland, one of the Missional Discipleship Mentors serving in North Western Synod, shares his thoughts on hope in this time of uncertainty:

In the window of our house is a small A4 piece of paper with a rainbow and the word ‘Hope’ written on it. My daughter made it after an initiative went out through schools and across the media, encouraging children everywhere to make rainbows to remind people that there is always hope. As I drove to the chemist the other day, I noticed rainbow coloured paper chains adorning school railings, made, no doubt, by the children of key-workers who are being supported and cared for by teaching staff.

There is always hope, but there are times when hope can be the thing that eludes us most. Psalm 22 has always been a favourite passage of mine. It speaks honestly of the ‘heart-cry’ of someone tormented and feeling abandoned by God. There is also the cry of Jesus as the Gospel of Mark records in chapter 15.34: ‘My God, my God why have you forsaken me?’ showing a complete absence of hope.

In both cases, it is the very fact that the person dares to challenge God, dares to metaphorically shake their fist at the Almighty, that proves to be the key to taking them on a journey that will eventually renew their sense of hope in the God of faithfulness.

This week has been personally challenging as my dad become quite unwell with Covid-19 and I felt helpless and limited in what I could do to support him, or my Mum who was also quarantined in the house.

Unable to go in, I paced about their garden for 2 hours while mum waited an hour and a half to get through to the overwhelmed NHS111 service. As I paced, and the recorded message kept repeating, dad started to deteriorate and become more confused. I used my last sensibility to text some friends to ask them to pray.

Even before the texts had arrived that moment of helplessness and hopelessness seemed to be the key to experiencing the presence of God. Within seconds, I felt at peace, feeling an assurance that no matter how this turned out, God was in it with us. I can honestly say hope never felt more certain.

The NHS, as we rightly celebrate, was brilliant. A doctor was sent out, whose compassionate manner (despite being dressed like an astronaut!) was exactly what my parents needed.

Dad is now on the road to recovery, Praise God. I don’t offer that praise flippantly as though dad was singled out for healing when so many are dying, but I exclaim it simply because, through it all, we were not alone. Isolated, frustrated, helpless, yes, but, as it turns out, never hopeless. Hope was present because love was present, visible in the gifts, skills and compassion of the one who attended dad; invisible in the sense of comfort and peace that came when we were at our most vulnerable.

I know so many are struggling with the isolation that has come because of this crisis. It is not something many have experienced before because it was never a feature of peoples lives, even in the war which many of our older people lived through.

I have been so overwhelmed and inspired by the stories of compassion and community around the nation, including from our local churches. It’s a source of encouragement to us all to hear of how communities are supporting and caring for one another in the limited ways that they can.

I pray that, if you ever feel moments of fear, helplessness or hopelessness, that you will have the strength and confidence to cry out to our faithful God. Try reading Psalm 22. May you know God’s peace, comfort and the renewal of hope in the certain knowledge that you are not alone. There is always hope.

Learn more about the work of the North Western Synod Missional Discipleship Mentors here.

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