I couldn’t quite remember if it happened or not, if I heard the Psalm or not. I was in the hospital, in the I.C.U. step-down room, and I thought–if memory serves–that my younger son, 25-year-old Timothy, was there in the corner reading a Psalm.
Both Tim and I are fans of the Psalms. He is spending 10 months right now in South Africa, working at a school for kids and living with a small group of Benedictine brothers who indeed pray the Psalms several times a day.
I was in the hospital right before he left for this mission trip; in fact, he was afraid he shouldn’t go, he was so worried about my health. That would have been during those touch-and-go early days in the hospital, like the day of faint memory.
There is such healing in the words of the Psalms. Here are just five verses that capture that. It’s the honesty of the Psalmist that especially appeals to me. Nothing mealy-mouthed about these prayers:
- Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am languishing; O Lord, heal me, for my bones are shaking with terror. (Psalm 6:2)
- I believe I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage… (Psalm 27:13-14)
- O Lord my God, I cried to You for help, and You have healed me. (Psalm 30:2)
- Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress; he sent out his word and healed them… (Psalm 107:19-20)
- He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds. (Psalm 147:3)
Healing did indeed come to me, when after two weeks of being treated for a lung infection, I was finally released from the hospital. The healing continues at home.
Finally I emailed Timothy in South Africa. “I have this vague memory of you praying for me in the hospital, reading the Psalms. Am I just making this up or did you really do that?”
“Yes, Dad, I did read a Psalm…a couple of Psalms.” He wasn’t sure which ones. The point is, he was there, and I heard him. I remember the power of the prayer, even if I couldn’t remember the words.
I take that as a reminder as I pray through the Psalms today. Not to over-think the words, not to analyze them, but to simply let their power speak to wherever God needs to work in me.
That’s what seemed to happen to me that day in the hospital. Memory–and my son–served me well.