‘My soul is exceedingly sorrowful’
Some thoughts by Don Egan
The events of Holy Week are the real roots of Christianity. We follow a suffering Saviour. Much of Christendom has dumbed down the message of Jesus to some Disneyesque-positive-thinking-trite-slogan religion where the idea is, if you pray enough, God will make everything OK and we’ll all live happily ever after. That is not the message of Jesus at all.
Life involves suffering for every man woman and child born on earth.
Some suffer more than others. Some suffering is physical while others suffer emotionally.
For thirty years I was hurting badly. Emotionally traumatised by grief, I somehow got on with life but was only ever firing on two or three cylinders at most. If the Disneyesque Jesus was real, he’d have sent the Fairy Godmother and waved a magic wand and taken my pain away before now. But he didn’t.
When I read the account of Jesus in Gethsemane I am encouraged. I know I’m following a Jesus who understands entirely what it is to be bowed down with grief and sorrow.
This is the mystery of God. While some do get miracles of healing – and I’ve seen many – others continue to suffer badly. In these situations Jesus seems to enter into our suffering rather than taking it away. I don’t know why that is.
One of my frustrations over the years has been seeing many people healed and set free through a healing ministry God seems to have given me, while at the same time I couldn’t get my own wound healed.
If we go beyond the Gospel according Walt Disney, we can see the profound mystery of the wounded healer. There have been many down the ages and even today, a large number of good therapists are themselves wounded healers.
Jesus, of course, is the greatest example of the wounded healer, even quoting a proverb of the time – ‘You will surely say this proverb to me, ‘Physician, heal yourself!’’ Luke 4:23.
I’ve written about my own struggle in a new book Jaded Heart – to be published in a few weeks time. But as I think about Jesus, overwhelmed with sorrow shortly before his arrest, I am encouraged. There is a Saviour who still comes to me, who visits me in the dark times of my soul.
I know so many are facing horrible times just now. I know others, like myself, whose present life is not bad but the past still drags them down. I have no magic wand to take away your pain. But there is great value in meditating on Jesus in the Garden of darkness, and allowing his gentle spirit to connect with our pain. He is the Good Shepherd. He will lead us through to better days ahead.
At the end of May, I will be returning to Rwanda – a place that has known incredible suffering on a scale unimaginable. We will be taking food and bedding to the poor, feeding the hungry and speaking of the Jesus who enters into our world.
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In 2004 Alison Fenning began exploring the back streets of Ipswich and befriending women involved in prostitution. She quickly became known as the Street Chaplain. She prayed with people who had addictions and provided genuine care.
Soon she found herself sat in crack dens sharing communion and teaching the Bible to women on the street. She trained a small band of volunteers to help with the work. And friendships with the women began to grow.
In 2006 this ministry to the red-light district was rocked by the Suffolk serial killings as five women were murdered, several of whom Alison had befriended. Since that time Alison has continued her friendships and introduced more women to Christ. The ministry developed and also helped men with addictions too.
As people began to embrace faith in Jesus, they asked how they could live out faith against the background of their often troubled and sometimes chaotic lives.
This book is a series of ‘letters’ that reflect conversations Alison has had about how to ‘do the God thing.’
Currently only available from Amazon here…
We are really excited about our partnership with Ugandan villagers. For years they have had plenty of water in the rainy season. But then they have been drinking polluted water from rivers in the dry season. Cattle and other animals drinking in the river also use the water as a toilet. Then children and adults collect the polluted water for drinking and cooking. This results in serious illness, death and a grim level of child mortality.
Thanks to RSVP supporters we are solving this problem! We are are helping our Ugandan friends construct a water harvesting system. This system collects the pure rainwater in the rainy season and then makes it available to villagers in the dry season.
A massive underground tank has been constructed to harvest 300,000 litres of water in the wet season.
The underground tank was dug 25ft down and now has been added with another 7ft on top with brick work as seen here. The harvesting tank is now 40ft deep. The width of this tank is 7ft.
Then solar power will pump the water to the overhead tank. Clean pure water will then be sold for a couple of pence for a 5 gallon water can to villagers. This small fund will be used for any maintenance – making the system self-sufficient.
At £2,500 per installation, this is a REALLY efficient way to supply clean water in remote areas of Africa. RSVP hopes to install many of these Harvesting Projects.
If you want to get involved, please give a gift small or large here: Donate to RSVP clean water.
Thank you to RSVP supporters! Tears have been turned into smiles for a family living in extreme poverty. On a visit to a poor area of Rwanda earlier this year, RSVP mission leaders, Alison and Richard Fenning, met a family without hope.
The family’s home was crumbling. The roof was broken and the structure was falling down around them. They also had no food. Everything looked desperate.
Thanks to the amazing generosity of RSVP partners and supporters, we were able not only to supply food for the whole family, but completely rebuild their home including a new roof.
We can only do this with your great support and so we say THANK YOU to all who support us!
Alison Fenning was one of the keynote speakers at the conference and Don Egan introduced some of the sessions and helped with the baptisms at the end of the conference. Don is a Trustee of Proclaim Trust, which is based in Rochdale. Along with Barry Woodward, Don and Alison are Associates of J John.
Get this completely free e-book from RSVP Trust today!
Don Egan looks at 8 helpful thoughts that can help us overcome the daily problems we face.
The book is designed to display well on iPad and tablet computers but can also be read on any Laptop or desktop computer.