DAY 12: Monday 30 March HOPE
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you HOPE and a future.
Good morning everyone
The rainbow has been the symbol of hope for centuries and reminds us of God’s faithful promise to Noah following the flood. Many school nurseries adopted the rainbow in name and as a symbol of the hope that children would gain in their care. Sadly, over recent years, the rainbow symbol had been hijacked by the LGBT brigade with certain children’s nurseries having to decide whether to rename and rebrand to avoid confusion.
Now over the past 3 weeks, rainbow pictures have appeared in the windows of homes around us. Children have been painting and crayoning rainbows to display in their front windows to show appreciation for all the NHS and other key workers in these tough days and as an expression of the nation’s hope of coming through these testing times.
Who would have guessed that in the 2017 Asterix comic “Asterix and the Chariot Race” there would be a character called “Coronavirus”? Until recently very few of us had ever heard the word. Now, across the world, it is the most talked about virus. Life has changed radically for the nations of the world and for us as individuals. Things we have taken for granted – freedom of travel and of meeting together, supply of necessities, and the hope of a long life – have been threatened. Wars, epidemics, plagues and disease have seemed so distant for most of us, but now this unseen virus is acting like a secret agent turning upside down our security and lives. We much prefer our routines, or even our ruts, to being routed by a microscopically minute virus.
For years we have been taught survival of the fittest and the horrible idea that epidemics are simply ‘mother earth’ thinning its ranks. We all know that life is very precious. The Bible teaches wonderfully that God cares, and that He can cope. Writing to Christians in trouble, Peter wrote: “Cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.” Of course, we want and need to act responsibly. Common sense listens to Government advice, keeps washing our hands, maintain a distance from possible infection and self-isolates where appropriate. But then what – is there any hope for our future?
Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will never leave you or forsake you
A testimony by Dr Julian Urban, a 38-year-old doctor in Lombardy
Up until two weeks ago, my colleagues and I were atheists…I always laughed at my parents when they went to church. Nine days ago, a 75-year-old pastor came to us for medical help. He had grave respiratory problems but had a Bible with him and it so impressed us medics that he would read the Bible to the people who were dying whilst holding their hands.
We were all tired and discouraged doctors, psychologically and physically exhausted but we found that we were listening to him... We realise that we have reached the limits of what man can do. We need God, and we have begun to ask for God’s help when we have a few moments free.
We cannot believe that we, who were all fierce atheists, are now seeking for inner peace by asking the Lord Jesus to help us...
The 75-year old pastor has now died. Despite the fact that in the last three weeks we have had over 120 people die in our unit and we are all exhausted and feel destroyed, he succeeded, despite his own failing condition and our own difficulties, to bring us a PEACE that we had lost all HOPE of ever finding.
UPDATE FROM ANNE ROBERTS
I was really torn about what to do about returning to the NHS. If I had completely retired from nursing, I think I would have felt morally obliged to go back for the duration. I discussed it with a friend who still works in ITU at Good Hope. She helped me to see that my nursing role at the hospice is still a necessary and important one, at present we are not allowing visitors at the hospice which is heart-breaking but necessary. If a patient is approaching their last hours we allow one person in - there has to be room for compassion. I have spent time on the phone reassuring relatives that their loved ones are receiving care and it is upsetting for me and, of course, them especially.
Some of our staff are self-isolating so we are short staffed and in fact the hospice is appealing for their old staff to consider returning for a while! End of life nursing isn't the most glamorous branch of nursing, but I feel it's where I should stay at the moment.
Natalie is going to phone us for a chat hopefully today or tomorrow. She was on night shift Saturday night and very happy that there was an hour less to work with the clocks going forward! She has done 8 twelve hour shifts in the last 10 days so wants to have some rest before phoning us. I haven't spoken to her for a couple of weeks so I can't wait! Of course we're worried about her but it does help knowing that so many people are praying. I just want to know that she has all the personal protective equipment. I was pleased to hear from my friend in ITU that they have been well supplied there. She says that it is hot and uncomfortable but at least they are being shielded.
TODAY’S HYMNALONG: for today’s theme what better song could we sing together than http://falconlodgechapel.sermon.net/main/hymnalong/21560652
Hazel says that yesterday was really strange not being at Chapel but she has sent the following photo to remind you of those times and to bless you all. Hazel has promised that when we are finally able to return she will fill the church with blooms.
TO MAKE YOU SMILE:
A minister told his congregation, "Next week I plan to preach about the sin of lying. To help you understand my sermon, I want you all to read Mark 17."
The following Sunday, as he prepared to deliver his sermon, the minister asked for a show of hands. He wanted to know how many of his congregation had read Mark 17.
Every hand went up. The minister smiled and said, "Mark has only sixteen chapters so I will now proceed with my sermon on the sin of lying."
· My husband purchased a world map, gave me a dart and said, "Throw this and wherever it lands I'm taking you for a holiday when this pandemic is over". Turns out we'll be spending two weeks behind the fridge.
The Department of Health is looking for couples married for 7 years or more to educate people on social distancing
Through this coming week which will be full of uncertainties let us continue being confident in our great HOPE.
Job 11:18 You will be secure, because there is HOPE; you will look about you and be able to rest in safety. You will lie down, with nothing to make you afraid,
Wesley & Karen