Psalm 6:2 – Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am faint; O Lord, heal me, for my bones are in agony. (NIV)
World War II was finally over. Twice our house had been damaged by bombs or rockets; I had been trapped in a hospital during an air raid by V1s that levelled the hospital and killed many patients and staff; and just when we thought it was safe, our school was damaged by a V2 rocket, killing several students. I was nearly seven years old, I had just restarted regular school, and my mother had started to send me to the Sunday School at our local church. The classes were held in a cozy little room. We usually heard a story or played craft games with a biblical plot line. However, this one particular day, something was different.
The lights were turned low, and there were candles on the tables giving off a soft, flickering glow. Our teacher sat us in a circle and began to tell us about Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit. Her voice was soft and soothing as she told us of His love for us and that this love was free — we just had to ask for it, and the Lord would provide and keep us safe. I did not come from a religious home and had never heard these words before. As the lesson was coming to a close, she asked us, if any of us wanted to give our hearts to Jesus, to hold up our hands. Several of us did so and stayed afterwards to say prayers. I remember feeling warm and joyous as I ran home to tell my parents the news of what I had done. Neither of them expressed any real interest one way or another. Life went on.
Over the years, my life seemed to go from one calamity to another. I could not settle down in school and was always in trouble with the juvenile authorities. I went through open-heart surgery at age eighteen, started drinking at twenty, and was a full-blown alcoholic at twenty-two. I walked out on my wife and family at thirty, and spent the next ten years on the street. Somehow, by the grace of God, I managed to stay alive and not hurt anyone. At age forty, I was sitting behind a dumpster on a cold, grey morning, sucking on the dregs of a bottle of rum, when I rediscovered that cozy little room in that church, and remembered the prayers and promises I had made nearly thirty-five years before.
Psalm 41:4 – I said, "O Lord, have mercy on me; heal me, for I have sinned against you." (NIV)
The path to recovery has been bumpy, and at times, I have felt like giving up. But every time things seem to be at their worst, the memory of that cozy little room comes to mind, and I feel the touch of His hand on my shoulder. He gives me the courage to carry on and the wisdom to take the right road, and when necessary, He takes me to my room.
Jeremiah 33:6 – Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security. (NIV)
Prayer: Lord, we pray for all those who are in the throes of recovery. Lord, give them courage, wisdom, and patience. Amen.