Last night I preached on being an agent of hope in a pain filled world. My text coming from 2 Corinthians 1:3-7.
Jesus was an agent of hope. He went out into the midst of hurting people and ministered hope to the hurting. He told them many times that God was for them and not against them. He prayed for them. He touched them, healed them, delivered them and sent his disciples out to be agents of hope also.
I used the analogy of having an itch under the shoulder blade that you can’t quite get to…and how great it is when someone else will scratch it for you.
I shared stories last night of my involvement in “suicide prevention and awareness” and how being an agent of hope caused people not to take their lives and to become Christians. Many of them had known about the gospel, but were antagonistic towards Christianity because of their great pain….yet an agent of hope is someone who will scratch someone where they are itching, and in doing so will cause them to realise they are itching in greater ways.
I shared how Christians and the church can be a bunch of bloody hardened hypercritical people in the ways they hurt and condemn people. Sharing the story of a mum who lost her son 12 years previously to a memorial service we held…asking her over a cuppa tea if today was helpful for her and she gripped my arms tight, crushing my wrists and told me how she, husband and family used to be heavily involved with a church…their son took his life and that Sunday 3 days later the preacher spoke about how all who commit suicide go to hell. She told me how her husband stood up, took her and daughter by the hand and walked out of the church and they never went back..in face she said this was the first church service she had been to in 12 years.
She looked at me, said, I have never lost my faith in Jesus…our previous church black-banned us, saying we had backslidden…but now you have given me hope that I can join another church that will minister into our great pain.
I always cry when I tell this story… for its a story of great tragedy, pain, false guilt and shame and yet its a story of hope, love and healing.
I want to ask you, as a Christian are you an agent of hope, or an agent of despair?