Sunday, 20 May 2018

Help good to come out of difficult times

WE have just come back from a two-week holiday, where we were able to watch a good number of DVDs that were available free in our accommodation.

My favourite was a romantic comedy called Return To Me that came out around the year 2000.

It tells the story of two families who hit very difficult times. One couple end up in a terrible car crash returning from a banquet they had organised. The wife is killed in the accident and the husband returns home devastated and begins to try to deal with his loss.

Another family surrounds the daughter as she goes in for a heart transplant operation; it’s her only hope of her life being extended.

As you watch the plot unfold, it’s interesting to see how good things come out of awful tragedies.

A friend manages to get the husband out to a restaurant for an evening after months of him being consumed with frustration and anger at his loss. Yes, you can guess who he meets serving food and drinks there.

Of course neither knows for a good long while that the girl who has given up hope of meeting someone suitable is actually the recipient of the transplanted heart of the man’s wife.

An interesting feature in the film is the actions of the father whose daughter has the transplant. When the phone call comes through that she is about to have her operation, he calls in at his local Catholic church, lights one of those big candles in coloured glass and prays for his daughter until she is through the operation. He then regularly visits the same church to give thanks, encouraging his family to do the same.

For me the film had a clear message. Good things can come out of tragic circumstances and there is a possibility that God is involved behind the scenes bringing good out of sad circumstances.

Over the last two weeks we have survived a snap general election, we have watched the terrible fire in the Grenfell tower block and huge loss of life that resulted and we heard of a mosque being attacked — and we are still recovering from the shock of the Manchester bombings and the London stabbings. That’s a lot to come to terms with over a short period of time.

We have watched while people have responded with generosity, seen community leaders standing together in Manchester and London and heard of an outpouring of offers of accommodation and provision for those who lost their homes in the Grenfell fire.

There may be things we too can do, to see good coming out of difficult times. We may be able to give to some of the charities that support victims and families of victims over these events. We may even be part of one of the teams that volunteer to help. Or you may want to respond to some of the difficulties of people closer to home and around Henley.

Oh yes, and one more thing we could be doing. Could we be those who are asking God to bring good solutions out of painful sets of circumstances? Rather like the father in Return to Me did. He kept a prayer vigil until his daughter was through her ordeal and returned to give thanks when his prayers were answered.

It would be something to behold: Henley’s churches full of people coming in to pray for good to come out of those bad situations and returning when prayers got answered. That really would be a return to me.

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