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Today: 31 May 2020



First published 17/02/2019

I hope you will forgive this very personal story.  It is not intended to provoke sympathy, but may help to stir your own thinking.

Five years ago, our son was dying with cancer.  He had a particularly virulent form of leukaemia which meant that without transfusions and the constant treatment of his blood, oxygen was not reaching the cells of his body.  It was at this stage of his illness that he was asked if he would take part in an experimental form of treatment which might not help him greatly, but which might help in the continuing research into the disease.

He agreed to take part.  in fact, this trial treatment extended his life by some months, but at some considerable cost to his suffering.  We hope and pray that what he endured will lead to some long-term benefit for others with leukaemia.

Research into ways of dealing with cancer, of course, continues, and fresh discoveries and progress are constantly being made.  Perhaps one day it will all be treatable.  But that research is costly and demanding, and for some scientists, takes a lifetime of devoted searching.

There is an even bigger issue in relation to life, that equally demands research and enquiry and a lifetime journey.  The English writer, G K Chesterton, famously said, 'The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried’.  In other words, for many people, the research has stopped.  Maybe they began to ask questions but were put off by there being no simple answers, or they were distracted by day-to-day issues like work and money and family.

Science has a major role in today’s world - as it should.  A lot of science is concerned with minute details, like investigating cancer cells and their development.  What Christianity , among others, seeks to do is to fit that scientific exploration into the big picture of what life is about, what are the most important things of all, and why there is life and a universe at all.

Jesus said - “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7, verse 7).  But the real sense of what he was saying is - “Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep seeking… Keep knocking…”

Researchers don’t easily give up.  If one avenue closes, they look for another.  Researchers go on asking questions.  They are persistent.

Christianity at its heart is immensely simple - God loves you.  But the implications of that can take a lifetime of exploring.  I want to do some exploring over coming weeks, perhaps in some areas where people ask questions and are looking for answers.  I don’t have all the answers, but there are discoveries to be made. That search could lead to fresh understanding, even a breakthrough.

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I recognise that I shall never have all the answers, but I pray, Lord, help me to trust that you have them.  Help me to go on searching - persistently - to know more of your truth.

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