Click below to download Paul Winter’s Spring 2015 prayer letter covering the Operation Joy and 4 Site projects.
Recently I was asked by the BBC to comment on the way rough sleepers are counted by local authorities. Most people who work with the homeless don’t take the figures produced by the annual count seriously. The criteria are too rigid for most and produce a figure that is unrealistically low. In order to be included in the annual tally of street homelessness you need to be:
sleeping, about to bed down (sitting on/in or standing next to their bedding) or actually bedded down in the open air (such as on the streets, in tents, doorways, parks, bus shelters or encampments). ….in buildings or other places not designed for habitation (such as stairwells, barns, sheds, car parks, cars, derelict boats, stations, or “bashes”)
Even by these standards the invalid man in John chapter 5 would have qualified. Bedded down amongst other sick and disabled people, totally dependant on the kindness of others, this man seemed to have lost hope. He had no one to help him he said. To our horror we discover that he had been in this condition for 38 years!
We tend to treat the beginning of a new year as a kind of maker for progress. How far have we come in the last 12 months? what are our hopes and expectations for the next 12 months? However, after 38 years of not making any progress, we can understand why this man was suffering from what one man calls “acquired helplessness”- that sense that no matter how hard we try, nothing we do ever changes anything. And this for 38 years!
Jesus restored this man with an enabling command. As the man responded in obedience he was healed.
It strikes me that this is the key to overcoming the sense of hopelessness. Simple faith filled obedience.
At MCM we meet our share of people who have learned that no matter what they do, they cannot change their lives. It may be because of drink or drugs or something else. It is always to do with the disabling effects of sin.
At MCM It is our privilege and calling to present the Gospel to those we meet. Those who choose to obey the Gospel find healing and hope restored. Like this disabled man they are made well.