"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." 1. Hebrews 4:15-16 (NIV).
"Dear Dick," a reader writes, "Your Daily Encounter, 'Living with a Challenge,' has really inspired me. Less than a week ago the bombshell dropped. My adult son, Jim, has the HIV virus. He was released from the hospital yesterday, but without any kind of counseling help.
"We don't even know how to begin to cope. He has a teen-age daughter and a seven-year-old son. He is terrified of being rejected even by our family. I think the hardest part is his not wanting to lie to anyone about his illness, but not wanting to share it with anyone because of the terrible stigma attached. Just yesterday with fear and trepidation he asked if he could come and see me to spend a little time together for my birthday. Please could you pray for us?"
Dear Jennifer (not her real name), how incredibly sad for Jim, you, his children, and your entire family. I grieve with you. However, as D.L. Moody once said when he saw a drunken skid row alcoholic lying in the gutter, "But for the grace of God there go I."
Having said that, the words of an old hymn, written many years ago by Frank E. Graeff, come to my mind:
Does Jesus care?
Does Jesus care when my heart is pained
Too deeply for mirth
As the burdens press, and the cares distress,
And the way grows weary and long?
Oh yes he cares;
I know he cares,
His heart is
touched with my grief;
When the days are weary, the long nights dreary,
I know my Savior cares.
While we must never condone sin, it is very important that we never reject repentant sinners. Jesus always hated sin because it destroys those whom God loves, but he always loved the sinner. We need to do the same for it is only by the grace of God that we haven't fallen into destructive sins.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please be with Jim, Jennifer, Jim's children and the entire family. May they, and all who might be in a similar situation, look to you in their hour of deepest need, and sense your loving presence. No matter what the circumstances, may they know that your grace is sufficient to cover all that has happened in the past, and may they know that you care deeply. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
Daily Encounter by Richard (Dick) Innes of ACTS International