"When was the last time you spoke to someone who has completely lost hope? When was the last time you spoke to someone whose light at the end of the tunnel has gone; whose smallest glimmer of hope has just been snubbed out? When was the last time you spoke to someone who can see no way out of his or her problems? Whose life once secure, has been rocked to near destruction?"Seems a long time since I found myself feeling pretty hopeless. (Sometimes ministry makes me feel pathetic....).
Today has been good. Another encouraging day today. Our little inner city church had a great feel today, this morning did anyway. I was away preaching at another church but got back in time for coffee at the end of the service that Kate had just led. There was a strong sense of community; identity; unity - I feel I have missed out. I look round quickly but 'he's' not there again - it takes the edge off it for me. 'He' doesn't realise it but 'he' is a real source of encouragement for me a real energising influence. 'His' pain is my pain.
The day is over our little afternoon service is behind us and we are enjoying a family moment of putting up the Christmas tree. There's a knock at the door. I hear his voice... "we need to talk"... my heart drops - I think back to conversations past - I know this guy can't get lower. "I'm working again... thanks for being there for me...sorry"
His body language, his eyes, his voice still can't hide the tiredness and pain of redundancy, the pain of rejection - but after two years there is something back, a small flicker, the faintest glimmer but it is there - hope.
"Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn." (Romans 12:15)
Being there to rejoice makes sense of the tears.