In the summer of 2012, as the presidential campaign gains momentum, promises are plentiful. One of the hot topics is health care.
As we listen to the politicians trying to win our votes, we know that policies to ensure the future health of our people will need to be far more complex than those found in the candidates’ carefully crafted catch phrases.
Perhaps this realization should remind us that people who are
struggling with major issues in their lives need more than a passing “God bless you” to face the future. Something has to be done to help their faith rise to meet life’s challenges.
Jesus asked a man who had been sick for 38 years, “Do you want to get well?” Read the story in John 5. When Jesus told him, “Get up,” faith was ignited in his heart, and he did what had been impossible for 38 years: he stood up. He left that encounter with Christ a healed man. When he picked up his mat and walked away from the scene of his suffering, he left the past behind.
The healing took place when there was a festival being held in Jerusalem, a joyous celebration of God’s faithfulness. While attending to His religious duties as an observant Jew, Jesus went to a location where the sick and needy were known to gather. He knew that a time of celebration for faithful worshipers didn’t lessen the misery of others.
William Booth captured this sensibility when he said, “The Salvationist is the friend of happiness, making heaven on earth is our business … but amidst all your joys don’t forget the sons and daughters of misery.” This should resonate with us today. Concerned Salvationists have a special calling to be involved with suffering people and show compassion. They make possible a faith response in people’s lives every day. You will want to read the article “More Than Soup and Soap” to see one example of how practical faith is being encouraged.
“It was Jesus who made me well” was the testimony of the healed man. The people featured in Priority! have their own testimonies of faith. The words you will read are too personal and heartfelt to be catch phrases. Like the man healed after 38 years, the people in these stories have been able to anticipate a faith–filled future without the past having control over them.
Jeremiah 29:11 encourages us saying, “ ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ ” It is God’s
promise that gets my vote!
Colonel William R. Carlson
USA Eastern Territory