A Hopeful Future | By Pastor Bill Mugford
It’s a dream we never thought we’d realize—a fantasy we dared not entertain. But now, this hopeful goal is both within the grasp of imagination and the scope of reality! Imagine, a world “Getting to Zero!” A planet virtually absent of new cases of HIV&AIDS; absent of HIV&AIDS related deaths; and absent of stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV&AIDS!
“HIV and AIDS?” Bewildered, you might ask, “Aren’t they gone? Hasn’t this disease been eradicated! Why resurrect ghosts and be haunted again by this virus?”
Today, HIV&AIDS remains humanity’s greatest, most stubborn, and deadliest pandemic, having killed over 33 million. There are 34 million people living with HIV&AIDS worldwide; 1.2 million of these are family and friends in the United States; 6,674 are our neighbors in Orange County; 170 of us being recently diagnosed with HIV; and 145 newly discovering we have AIDS. Bottom line, many people, both near and far, need our help!
It is always surprising to see how much the face of a person living with HIV and/or AIDS looks just like us, representing all age and faith groups and every demographic accounted for by ethnicity, culture, race, and socio-economics. And it’s heartwrenching to know that not one person now testing “positive” for the virus ever willingly welcomed the havoc wrecked on everyday life and the future by this pernicious killer.
When God revealed himself to Isaiah, asking him to get involved in a great mission to his peers, the prophet humbly began by acknowledging his own shortcomings, “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty,” Isaiah 6:5 (NIV84). After God ministered to him, Isaiah again, heard the voice of the Lord [call], “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” It took only an instant to reply, “Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah 6:8 (NIV84).
What about us, you and me? Are we willing to listen to God’s call and help people living with HIV&AIDS around us? Hear again God’s hopeful call, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”