This has been a very difficult article for Michael to write, because in his Chaplaincy work, he encounters many people who have lost all purpose to live and have lost hope. Those who do not have an underpinning of faith that a better life is to come after death, are left in a void where hopelessness focuses them on their physical decline and not their spiritual gain. So often the message of the Gospel has not been opened to them through a loving heart.
For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Romans 15:4
Our changing purposes, create changing hopes when supported by a steadfast faith. Without a foundation of faith, we can not maintain hope when our purposes fade.
As our lives evolve and we go through the different seasons of life, the purposes we live for change; it is an inevitable part of growth and pursuing our desires in this extraordinary life, we have been given. Hope is essential to living through each bump or challenge we encounter. Each aspiration or change that comes our way.
Last Saturday, King Charles 111 was crowned with Queen Camilla. The long road which King Charles travelled to his coronation day must have required purpose, hope and faith. From a very different story, on the same day two members of the dissident Russian rock group, Pussy Riot, “Masha” Alyokhina and Nadya Tolokonnikova, received the Woody Guthrie Prize. It was rewarded for speaking for the less able through their music and performance serving as a positive force for social change in Russia. Their protests cost them years in Russian prisons, which again must have required purpose, hope and faith, to survive.
These were two notably different stories which were in the ‘news media’, that day.
There were some 1.4 million people in nursing homes in America and an additional 900,000 in Assisted Living Care, who more than likely saw some of those news reports. For most of those people, television is the only entertainment or company they have for most of the day. If they are fortunate, they may have family who are able to visit, but that may be for only hours in a week or month. The majority of their time is spent alone in a room with a television. To get out of bed to go to the bathroom often requires someone else’s help and can take a long time to happen. These facilities are expensive and can drain a family’s savings very quickly, without some form of government assistance. Boredom, loneliness and the futility of a life lived mostly in bed, with diminishing physical abilities inevitably leads to a dark hopeless mind.
That very large question, what is the purpose of my life? For King Charles 111 and Pussy Riot, they will always have an active purpose for their lives to live; at least until they too, find themselves in the equivalent of a nursing home, bedbound. But for those physically depleted who feel there is no real purpose for their lives any more, they will loose hope, without a spiritual knowledge of God’s salvation plan for them.
The bible talks extensively about the hope which comes from faith in God. That message is only meaningful when given in love, by someone who has received it themselves, through love. It is low on the messages we receive through the television media news, when a coronation or a wild performance is center stage. No, this takes ‘one on one’ visitations and sharing a life of hope to come.
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. Romans 8:18.
So my prayer is please pray about volunteering in your nearest nursing home or where ever there are shut ins. They need the gospel of hope not television, by default.
Proverbs 23 Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.
Psalm 33:18-19, 22. Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him,
on those who hope in his steadfast love,
19 that he may deliver their soul from death
and keep them alive in famine.
Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us,
even as we hope in you.
Psalm 62:5-7. For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
for my hope is from him.
6 He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
7 On God rests my salvation and my glory;
my mighty rock, my refuge is God.
Psalm 130:5-6. I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
6 my soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen for the morning,
more than watchmen for the morning.
Lamentations 3:22-24. The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;[b]
his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”
Romans 5:3-5. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Romans 8:24-25 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Romans 15:13 13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
I hope this has been helpful to some of you! Thank you in advance for your prayers, and you are all in ours as we go forward in these challenging times.
Michael and Christine