In the middle of a week when many Australians are experiencing crisis and fear from catastrophic bushfire conditions, Hope 103.2 devotion presenter John North has encouraged people to find hope in God.
And his words aren’t hollow: he is in the midst of his own personal crisis, having just been through surgery for a life-threatening condition, and is now on tenterhooks as his daughter recovers from life-saving surgery, too.
From a hospital carpark, where he could see and smell the smoke of many bushfires, John spoke on the phone to Hope Breakfast’s Sam and Duncan.
“I know for a lot of people [right now] there’s a lot of fear,” he said, “but I think in the middle of that the one thing that gives us hope is our connection to God. The God who made this world, who understands everything, He is our hope.
“In the uncertainty of life and all that can go on in life, the one place we have a rock solid guarantee that there’s someone who listens to us, that can be active in our situation and help us, is God.”
John is currently in recovery from surgery, and on Friday his daughter came close to losing her life when she went into hospital for what was meant to be a simple biopsy. John said the hours and days at the hospital have been a time to reflect on his hope in Jesus.
“When we were waiting seven hours for her to come out of surgery, and our fears were mounting what might be happening, what might be going on, in my heart I turned to God,” he said.
“And I can tell you in my own experience, that when you’re struggling and you feel so hopeless and helpless, you don’t see what you could do or that there could be a way out, God is there in the darkest, most hopeless place and there is always hope when we make God the centre of our lives.”
But Does Prayer Work?
In answer to the question of whether prayer really makes any difference, John described his whole life as “a story of answered prayer, of crying out to God, praying to God, and seeing specific answers that could be nothing but God Himself”.
“And I can tell you in my own experience, that when you’re struggling and you don’t see what you could do or that there could be a way out, God is there in the darkest, most hopeless place.”
“That’s why always when I face a crisis, I go to people and I say ‘Please pray for me. Pray for us, we need help. Talk to God for us.’
“And I’ve seen so many answers to prayer that I would never doubt that prayer makes a difference, that God is listening.
“I remember Jesus said to the disciples one time, “Until now you have asked for nothing in my name. Ask! And you will receive.” God is not reluctant to hear our prayers. He can’t wait for us to start coming to Him. He wants to be so involved in our lives.”