Posts Tagged ‘cancer’

Gloomy Forecasts from the Meteorological Office and World Health Authorities but… Look Up!

February 4, 2014

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It has been said that ‘no news is good news’ and perhaps there is some truth in that phrase. Rarely will good news on the front of a newspaper create the sensationalism that sells – but bad news will! This morning as I listened to the radio, I was confronted with two very gloomy pieces of news. The first was that we are to expect high winds, high tides and severe flooding resulting in damage to property in many parts of Ireland over the next weeks. The second was issued by the International Agency for Research on cancer which has predicted that within the next two decades the number of new cases each year will rise to 25 million. The agency referred to it as a ‘tidal wave.’ A gloomy forecast indeed! Apparently some of this increase can be attributed to the fact that people are living longer, while another contributing factor is population growth. However, this agency and other spokespersons also claim that tobacco, sugar and alcohol are all contributing factors.

Today (4th February) as it happens, is internationally known as “World Cancer Day” – a day on which awareness campaigns take place for all types of cancer. To people who have had a cancer diagnosis, though, it can seem a little simplistic to attribute the cause of their cancer to tobacco, sugar or alcohol, particularly when many of them (a) have never smoked a cigarette in their lives, (b) don’t have a ‘sweet tooth’ and would honestly prefer savoury/healthy options and (c) don’t drink! Strangely governments and organisations rarely cite environmental issues as a possible cause of cancer, even though our General Practitioners do. Could it be that if certain elements were to be exposed, then big companies (like those who produce carcinogenic artificial sweeteners) would stand to lose out financially? For example, we are rarely told the full truth with regard to radiation levels at the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant which lies directly across the Irish Sea from my own home. Only today I learned that it has been partially closed due to recent elevated levels of radioactivity. Surely the “love of money is the root of all evil!” (1Timothy 6v10)    

Another little piece of news which caught my attention this morning is the fact that at least 75% of people in Europe think that their Government is dishonest and that corruption is widespread. Following that interesting (but unsurprising) news, came a statement from the Irish Minister for Energy and Communications to the effect that ‘pylons pose no health risk.’ Apparently 750 new pylons are to be erected between Leinster and Munster, despite raised objections and international prestigious organisations voting by a vast majority in favour of the view that pylons should be considered possible human carcinogens.

So, here is the news… bad weather, a gloomy world health forecast, widespread dishonesty, disregard for the health of citizens and distrust in those in our governments!

If these were the only prospects on our horizon, how miserable we would be! From a personal point of view, when I look around me I see dishonesty in many quarters; the horizon is so dark spiritually but I must, I must…look up! As the storm rises (and it surely will) those who know the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour have the great privilege of knowing that our sojourn here is but a temporary one. Oh what joy to know that when earthly storms are over, whatever their nature, if we love the One who gave His life for us, we can rest assured of peace and everlasting joy in His Presence. And indeed, we can know something of that joy and peace today…

Today I was reading the verses where Peter, at the Lord’s invitation goes to meet Him on the water… “But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.” (Matthew 14v30) Above all we are exhorted not to take our eyes off the Saviour when we are in the midst of troubled waters, or depressed by evil forecasts, for if we do – we will surely start to sink.

The good news is that this privilege of knowing that you can look above and beyond the temporary gloom of this life can be yours too today! If you do not already know the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour, then He lovingly beckons you to come this very day; to repent and put your trust in Him, for He can lift you out of the darkest and deepest troubled waters known to mankind.

Then, with your brothers and sisters in the Lord you can say with joy… “For here we have no continuing city, but we seek one to come.” (Hebrews 13v14)

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Saying Goodbye to “Wish Wish” – a Faithful Loving Friend

October 21, 2013

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I loved her very much, my faithful feline friend whom we named “Wish Wish” at a time when my children were much younger than they are today. Somehow the last few weeks represented a difficult landmark in my life for many reasons and her passing was a symbol of how I felt at the time…

I found Wish Wish abandoned around fifteen years ago as she lay breathing her last amongst other little siblings who lay dead around her. Gently I lifted her and carried her indoors to the heat of the kitchen. For the first few weeks I fed her like a baby. Every few hours night and day she took sustenance from a little dropper until at last she had grown into a beautiful larger kitten. She rewarded us so much for saving her life by being one of the most affectionate pets I have ever known. She would go for a walk with us out the back lane like a little puppy running ahead and indeed she had a long and happy life – but I felt truly bereaved when she died. Driving home from a hospital visit one night after her death I felt the pain of losing her and sorrow deep within my heart.

Wish Wish was no ordinary cat; she knew how to open doors by reaching up to put the handle down, she let us know her needs too, but most of all she was there for me, showing love in most extraordinary ways. Two years ago when my father passed away and I had received other bad news, I sat crying in the chair one night when suddenly I heard her jump on a high stool beside me and then felt her face close to mine, her green eyes staring into mine, her whiskers softly brush off me and then she licked my face. I believe that she knew exactly how I felt.

Wish Wish was brought to the vet some weeks ago where an x-ray revealed a large growth in her stomach. In our dying, polluted and diseased world animals too are suffering…

How I long for that day when there will be a new heaven and a new earth (Rev.21v1; Isaiah 65v17) – and pain, sorrow, death and crying shall be no more. “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes…” (Rev.21v4)

“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.”

“For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.” (Romans 8v22) Surely it is as if all of creation is literally in the pains of childbirth, waiting to be delivered from the burden of the curse.

Pain, disease, violence on the earth, dying and sorrow were not how it was meant to be… but thank God that “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8v2)

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8v28)

“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Romans 8v18)

Sometimes we may feel a strange loneliness in our sorrow, even when surrounded by loved ones… but we shouldn’t, for “there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18v24)

As I was confronted with some very distressing events in my life just recently, many verses from Romans 8 have comforted me… “As it is written, for thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 8v36-39)

With these precious promises and multitudes more let us encourage one another as we cast our burdens upon He who loved us and gave Himself for us, for “if God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8v31)

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Is This Your Stolen Car?

April 25, 2012

On a misty, but warm spring day some weeks ago, my daughter and I decided to take a walk along our local beach at Gormanston in County Meath. This beach has been previously labelled “the most radioactive in Europe” and I can well believe it since it lies directly opposite the nuclear reprocessing plant at Sellafield in England. Sellafield, unfortunately, had been dumping nuclear waste into the Irish Sea for many years and is said to be the contributing factor to higher cancer statistics in my local area and on our east coast in general. On a warm day we used to go into the sea here but I have been a little reluctant on hearing one local say that he wouldn’t even let his dog into the sea now!

The long sandy beach which stretches for many miles from just south of Drogheda in County Louth right through to Balbriggan in County Dublin has the potential to be an area of outstanding beauty, with its scenery and bounty of wildlife. However, because of international and national pollution and the fact that the Irish Army use the Gormanston area for military purposes, this makes it most unattractive.

On this particular day, though, all of nature seemed to be in its glory, with the rush of the sparkling waves slipping in over the sand, the seagulls crying in the breeze and daffodils growing wildly and waving on the high cliff above the beach. I took a deep breath of (who knows what kind of) air and everything looked good until I spotted it – a car which was partially submerged in the sand, with no number plates and smashed windows. When we took a closer look we noticed that the interior was smashed up too. Somehow this cast a shadow over my previous optimism, when we had set out on our walk.

Here was someone’s car which had been stolen, vandalised and left as litter on the beach. My heart went out to the owner, since my husband had his car stolen too once; smashed and dumped by a joy rider, in an area of Dublin where even the police are reluctant to ask questions.

Perhaps I have painted another picture of Ireland here; one that questions its ‘green’ and peaceful image and one that would not readily appeal to tourists. Yes, it can be an unpopular route to take, when we see things for how they are and when we point out the negatives in our society.

Of course other parts of the world have problems too… “for we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.” (Romans 8v22)

At this moment those who know the Lord live, sleep, walk and work in environments which have been polluted and in societies where sin abounds. We are not immune to the diseases and effects brought about by mankind’s sinful attitudes and desire to make themselves rich. We live in a polluted world, both from a spiritual and environmental point of view – but God is Sovereign. Just as He delivered “just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked,” (2Peter 2v7) those who trust Him in this the Day of Grace, will find in Him a refuge, through the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.

 The month of April has been designated as “National Spring Clean Ireland,” a time when individuals and organisations can work to clean up their environment. This is an admirable thing to do, but spiritually speaking, only the Lord can get to the root of the problem. Surely for changed attitudes in every sphere we need ‘clean hearts?’

Yes, His blood “can make the vilest clean,” so for those who know Him as Saviour, let us reach out in love to the souls and communities around us, as directed by Him. Not everyone is a joy rider, a thief or suffers from drug/alcohol abuse – but all have need of a Saviour. For the moment, the Christian lives in a world where he may be robbed, attacked and subject to disease which has been brought about by men’s greed but if we are faithful to the end, the Lord will bring us into a haven, infinitely safer than that of Lot’s on this earth. There will be no thief, liar, vandal, immorality or disease; no crying and no pain.

“Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.” (2Peter 3v13&14) Praise God.