May 19, 2010
I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me. Matthew 25:36
I’ll never be able to thank God enough for the way my mother took care of me when I had trigeminal neuralgia. She wouldn’t let go of me; my mother was determined to defeat the pain. Her determination and faith spread to me, and that is how I got well. Although the process wasn’t simple, the premise is: Lord, I believe You will make this pain go away. How can people believe such a thing when it feels as though the face is being electrocuted over and over and over?
As I fought the good fight of faith, I remember feeling as though my body had imprisoned me. I wanted to escape it, but I couldn’t. I found solace in a song that Dottie Rambo wrote, “The Holy Hills.”
This house of clay is but a prison
Bars of bone hold my soul.
How desperately I wanted to escape the prison, but I couldn’t. Captured by pain, I sought hope. If nothing else, I knew the present sorrow could last only a lifetime and not for an eternity. That’s how Dottie’s song encouraged me:
But the doors of clay are gonna burst wide open
When the angel sets my spirit free.
I'll take my flight like a mighty eagle…
I longed for a day of freedom, either by way of healing or through death. The thought of my death didn’t depress me, and still doesn’t. It’s simply a longing to be in a better place.
The pain is gone, but I can’t forget others who are suffering. I can’t forget, either, about people who are in prison. I’m involved with Prison Fellowship Ministries, and what a blessing it’s been. I’ve been teaching Set Free by Jan Coates to a group of women who are incarcerated. It’s about overcoming childhood abuse, and the curriculum is wonderful.
When I first met the women, I told them I had never been arrested or in custody but I know what it’s like to be imprisoned by pain. They could relate to that, and I can relate to them. We all need someone to minister to us, whether it’s a need for food, clothing or shelter; a need to be attended; or a need to be visited when we’ve been punished. Think of someone who's helped you along the way, someone you didn’t know well. For all the people who helped me – and there have been many – thank you. Because you helped me, I can visit people who are in prison.
Have you read With Great Mercy?