In recent days the enflamed conflict between Israel and its neighbours has been a great cause of concern and a real sense of frustration that there is nothing that one can personally do in response (apart from financial support to aid agencies), and that this is a situation that has existed for decades. It is easy to lose hope.
A while ago I read a memoir by the former US President Jimmy Carter (1977-81) in which he briefly related the lead up to the Camp David Accord signed by himself, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin in September 1978. It was a personal achievement, after much effort to get the two leaders together. I do wonder how Jimmy Carter must feel as the current situation makes his efforts pointless. As a seasoned politician, I am sure Jimmy Carter has weathered many other significant disappointments in his career and life, but there seems to be much more, as this was a mission for a whole region of the world torn apart by animosity and violence while personal political ambition did not seem to feature.
Jimmy Carter is known as a man of strong Christian faith and here one finds the motivation for his political life and what he was seeking between Israel and its neighbours. It is also the source of hope which, I am sure, takes Jimmy Carter beyond his disappointments to something more positive that lies ahead.
Reflecting on these things, I found myself moved to paint a portrait of Jimmy Carter and discover something more of the hope that is found in Jesus Christ. The image is of him celebrating his 75th wedding anniversary to Rosalyn at the age of 97 (he is currently 99 years old) and I trust reflects his attitude of hope and expectation in the future.
It is something we all need to discover and grasp.