Keep Hoping & Praying
How do we keep hold of hope in desperate times? Here’s Jude Taylor, Licensed Reader at St George & St Paul, with our latest blog post.
Well, Covid-19 finally got me, but fortunately not my husband Reg or any of the people I had happily been with in the preceding days through church. Little miracles to be grateful for. It was always going to be ‘not if but when,’ and when it did, it took me by surprise. I had no idea where the infection came from, but it left its mark with low energy and then unusually for me, a low level degree of depression, fuelled by an inability to do things.
On a completely different level, there was deep despair at the news from Ukraine, fuelled by a need to understand and track what was happening through our ever accessible media and disbelief at the conflicting viewpoints, the sheer devastation of towns, the scenes of fleeing women and children and the tearful farewells, as men returned to protect their nation and beliefs.
I was left for a while feeling disconnected from God as the situation worsened until I refocused on the sheer determination and faith of the Ukranian people to preserve their way of life and their beliefs. In the horror of conflict there are massive humanitarian efforts, of nations pulling together.
We can all get dragged into a sort of distorted thinking from time to time and Corrie Ten Boom famously said:
"When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don't throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer." Jesus is with us and at work, like the brave people of Ukraine and the bordering countries, like the Russian dissidents, we hold to our beliefs, our faith, Jesus’ gifts of love, grace, strength and forgiveness. We continue to pray for peace and reconciliation because that is where human life is at its best.
As Graham Tomlin, Bishop of Kensington and president of St Mellitus College says, it is prayer that makes a difference, holds us together, brings peace of mind and plays such a vast “part in moving this world in the direction of what is good.” Not only that, it is our daily guide, our lifeline connection to God and, as Pete Greig says when prayer is unanswered, we keep praying, we don’t give up, we keep on and “live by faith, not by sight” (2Cor.5:7).