Don’t you love it when God gives you a verse to hang on to thru the year?  Guess He knew how much I was needing one for this era!  Sometimes life seems hard.  Uncertain.  Grueling with challenges.  I say this knowing that, as life goes, I have it easy compared to many of you!  I live in the “express lane” with 8 items or less in my basket of “concerns!”  Still, heading into the new year, God knew I needed something refreshing to hang on to, so He gave me one of those “mind boggling” times with Himself! — Christmas morning I followed my favored holiday tradition for when I’m “home alone” and listened to Handel’s Messiah, looking up the verses that inspired each song.


Early in the cantata* is Isaiah 40:4 – 

“Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain ….”

Now for all those voices out there screaming “Context! Context!” and I agree!  BUT – I also know God sometimes chooses to use a verse beyond its primary context to meet a specific spiritual need.  As I listened & read Isaiah’s words, God blew me away with an avalanche of promises & hope for whatever’s ahead in 2013!

Every valley shall be exalted

– not filled with doom & gloom, fearful uncertain unknown, but blazing with His light as He raises them to be the path He has chosen for me to tread — with Him.

And every mountain and hill made low

– not insurmountable as they seem when viewed from afar, or even at their base, but possible to scale — in His strength 

the crooked straight

– even when I can’t see round the next corner, just keep walking and He’ll straighten the road ahead as we come to it — together

and the rough places plain

– He’ll sweep the path before me so we can glide thru the rugged & rocky patches, the pits and potholes ahead — together.

So much for this wimp’s “felt needs.” Our Mighty God knows, and cares, and so faithfully meets whatever our needs may be!  Including provision of encouragement to leave it all in His capable hands!  

So how about some REAL irrefutable prayer needs from folks here?     

Remember Rosa who had a tree fall on her last November?  Well, she’s still at the hospital here.  Due to the autoclave not working her arm was never able to be properly set.  It’s in a cast and will heal as is.  Due to problems with the X-ray machine the doctors were never able to confirm whether she has a hairline fracture of her pelvis or not.  Dittos on her chest X-ray.  Does she or doesn’t she have TB???  Doctors differed on this diagnosis.  But Rosa – she always has a smile on her face, NO demands.  Just a very sweet sister in the Lord — who could use your prayers.  She’s being released soon to return to her village and get by however she can.

Then there’s Susan from our national ladies Bible study.  She’s been away for several months and just returned last week when she heard that her husband, Lukas, still here in town, had died.  Susan came by to tell me the news, and ask that I print up a picture of him.  As we worked on that project she filled in more details and asked me to request that you pray, primary points being: 

  • Lukas’ clanline is most upset that Susan wasn’t with him when he died.  They’re threatening to rake her over the coals at his funeral
  • They plan to evict her, and the 3 or 4 grandchildren she’s raising, from her house and take possession.   Culturally they can do this and Susan would have no recourse.   And nowhere to go. 

 God can certainly use this to draw Susan and others in her family to Himself.  We can be praying that they will find all their needs met in Him.

How about this one?  20 month old Haga died last week from a death adder bite.   The missionaries in that village report that Haga’s father, Jenetin, shared thanking God for the opportunity to have this little girl in their family for a short time, and said. “Everything God does is good.  God wants to use this death to bring each of us closer to Himself..  to strengthen our marriages …. to strengthen our families … to strengthen our faith. We are okay because we know we will meet again in heaven.”  This Mariama family have been planning to move to another village in their language group, to become missionaries teaching God’s Word to the people there.  They would certainly benefit by your prayers.  

And in recent news from the May River Iwam:  Those of you who have been following me over the years probably remember me mentioning Daniel – a key translation helper, literacy worker, for many years my “right hand man,” and one of my May River “sons.”  Daniel’s younger clan brother George has gotten himself into serious trouble.  Unlike Daniel, George has never shown any interest in the Lord.  For years he ran with a “rascal gang” on the road between the coast and the Sepik River.  He finally gave that up and returned to his home village.  New Year’s Day George got into a fight with someone over marijuana and ended up killing the man.  Rumor has it that if the police don’t come soon to deal with George, real “warfare” might break out, with guns involved.  Won’t you please please pray for 

  • Protection for the believers.
  • That the police will go in and apprehend George 
  • That God will use this in the lives of many around the May River Iwam area, to show them their need of the Savior.

So much for my thinking I have it rough.  The Christians in each of the situations mentioned above are trusting God to take them thru the valleys, mountains, crooked & rough places ahead.  How can I do less!  

Many of you are seeking to maneuver around the potholes in your lives now too, be it finances; health; family situations; family members and / or friends with dire physical, emotional, spiritual needs.  Some of you have loved ones on their way – or recently promoted – to glory.  Add to that stress on the job & / or at home ……. the list seems endless.  My thanks to those of you who have been in touch to let me know specific needs that I can be bringing before the Lord on your behalf.  

And a special thank you too, to all of you who are living sacrificially there so that I can continue in the work God yet desires for us to do for Him here in Papua New Guinea.  You are vital to His work!   And greatly appreciated too!    

Co-laboring together with you for the King!  

Hope Sharp

*I guess technically Handel’s Messiah is called an “oratorio” — but since I’d never heard that word before I won’t pretend I know what I’m talking about.  The internet says “oratorio” means a “large musical composition including an orchestra, a choir, and soloists. “  I’ll take their word for it!