From Hopelessness to Hopefulness

Val Thomas

I’ve been thinking about how often we say about people or situations: “Oh they are/its HOPELESS”? How often do we hear this said? Our use of this sentence first struck me whilst my husband and I were spending a few days at the Retreat Centre and House of Prayer Ffald-y-Brenin in Pembrokeshire. We were reading through Psalm 40 in one of the chapel times and I read: “He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.” The discussion led to folks sharing how they felt in the pit and how it all felt hopeless. What impact, I wondered, does the word ‘hopeless’ have upon the situation or person we say it about? Does it change how the situation or person is perceived? I am sure we can actually start to write it off or subconsciously move away emotionally. Or maybe we feel more negative about the situation, rather than looking at it through the lens of Christ and how He never wrote anything off and always had time for those who felt hopeless.

What a difference it makes to actually change the ending of the word from LESS to FULL. The situation actually feels hopeless, but I am hopeful that with the help of the Lord it can be changed around for the better. Or by just bringing it to the Lord in prayer we can end up feeling more positive about it all. Even the endings are profoundly different – going from less to full.

I work with young people who have been influenced by their parents or what the media and TV shows them is normal. They habitually sleep around with any and every person they meet. Babies are usually the norm, often when they are barely out of school. But they are also usually ill-equipped to deal with them once they start to talk and walk. Hopelessness is their habitual language and it’s how they feel they are perceived. It can be extremely difficult for them to change this world view, even when they have had a profound encounter with the Almighty. They return back to their normal life and find it difficult to see past it. There are little aspirations for their future and they rarely bother with education or thinking about further education.

Recently, someone I know sent me a Facebook message with a YouTube link saying “Val you need to watch this it’s awesome!” Watch it I did and they were right, it was awesome! It was about a bunch of people from around the world, who have taken the book of Acts literally, and are going out on to the streets offering to pray with folks they meet: praying for healing and expecting to see it, and when it does they lead people to Jesus; they offer to baptise them, there and then and also deal with any darkness that may arise.

This profoundly impacted me. I thought what would the Church of England do with this? I respect the denomination that God has placed me in, and follow protocol and canon guidelines, but it has to be said though that I have rarely seen any of this in the 25 years I have worshipped in the Anglican Church. Some of my ponderings have been on how John Wimber impacted the church in the 1980s. How can we as Christians in the 21st century take any of this on board? This is what I’m focussing on in my current times of prayer with Jesus.

I find myself thinking how much this would transform our way of thinking about what we have felt is just hopeless. I am so grateful that the God I know scooped and mopped me up when all seemed hopeless and filled me with His HOPE, radically changing my life for ever and set me off on the biggest adventure of my life.

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