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  • Writer's pictureA is for Agape

Just a Ray of Hope

I heard a guest pastor preach on faith, once. Okay, I’ve heard lots of pastors preach on faith. But this sermon was directed at me. It felt that way anyway. And I’m sure I wasn’t the only one in the congregation that felt that way. I hope people weren’t too discouraged that day. I sometimes wonder what I may have said to make someone falter. I know I tripped just the teensiest bit that day.

He said, with faith and prayer, we can get rid of our illnesses, addictions, weaknesses. He said, we could pray away everything that ailed us. He said we didn’t have to live with our pains, it was weakness that kept us from living wholly.

Then he started getting specific. If you have migraines, pray them away. If you have mental illness, like depression, pray it away. I wanted to walk out at that moment. I sensed my husband watching me. He knew how I was feeling in that moment. Weak, vulnerable, picked on. I was angry too, let’s not forget that, angry that he preached those things, angry that I hadn’t healed myself because of my weak faith.

He spent the next thirty or so minutes telling me that it was my fault my body felt, well, anything. It was up to me if I wanted to get rid of, well, anything. My first instinct was to look around me and place it on someone else’s shoulders. I didn’t want the blame and I definitely didn’t want the judgement.

The worst part is, that sometimes we hide our problems because we think this sermon, and other’s opinions on the matter, is true and that it is our fault. We don’t ask for help because we don’t want to admit that we have a problem, that we haven’t healed ourselves. We look around at the faces of our friends and neighbors and wish we had it as easy as they seem to have it. The important word being “seem”. Because from the outside we all look okay. We all look put together. We present our happiest, safest face, just so no one can see our pain.

See, in a way he’s right, prayer is powerful. It gives us an anchor, a place to go when things are low, things get low sometimes. Prayer guides us in the direction we need to go. It is our comfort and our assurance. But he’s wrong about not needing outside help. Help comes from the strangest places sometimes and I’m grateful for that. Yes, prayer and faith keep us from staying in the darkest places of our mind and body. And God is strong enough to heal each and every one of us, but sometimes he says ask a friend for help. Sometimes he guides us to a loved one for help.

I walked out of that sermon angry at a man who could say such ugly things to my face. But then I saw the people around me and realized that none of us can claim to know the heart of another. He didn’t know that my heart was hurt. He’ll never know that. But I also don’t know what his pain is, he must have some, and this was his forum.

I have to admit, I don’t really know if it is lack of faith keeping my mind in a whirl and my head in agony. What I do know is that I haven’t moved any mountains lately. But I also know that I love my God and know He is in control of everything. I also know that people suffer, this world is like that, full of pain, and every once in a while a ray of hope.

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