Veni veni Emmanuel
As I write this, the sounds of Mannheim Steamroller’s rendition of "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" are permeating my room, and my thoughts go out to places all over the world where hatred and bigotry are the rule, not the exception. Captivum solve Israel… Israel is held captive by its neighbors. Qui gemit in exilio… Jesus’ people are exiled all over the world, unable to reclaim the land the Lord promised their ancestors. Gaude, gaude, Emmanuel nascetur pro te Israel. And His people are not rejoicing, according to the news reports. Bethlehem is on the verge of a siege; Saddam Hussein has already vowed to launch more missiles at Israel if the USA tries to remove him from power; Chinese believers are persecuted by the Communist powers; prisoners of conscience in nearly every nation. Strife is everywhere.
Yet, in the midst of all this, my thoughts return to home, and a friend. My heart is breaking for her right now. She’s a single mother, getting a welcome break while her son is visiting his uncle in another state. And she has decided to check into the psych ward while he’s gone. I drove her to the hospital right after she heard that her son had arrived. It didn’t surprise me, but it does surprise me how haunting is the vision of her, alone in her room, silent and scared.
Her life hasn’t been easy. No single mother’s life is easy. But hers has been particularly burdensome, thanks to a degenerative disorder of her connective tissues. As a result, she hasn’t been able to get a job, and must rely on public assistance to make sure her son has food, shelter, and clothing. Lifting a coffee cup in the morning is painful; brushing her hair in the evening hurts, too. Running a vacuum cleaner will bring her down for two days afterwards. Things that most of us take for granted, she can’t do. What she can do, she must do carefully, to avoid overworking herself.
So now she’s in the hospital, asleep right now, I’m sure. But tomorrow when she wakes up, she won’t see a face that she knows and loves; she’ll see a hospital worker, probably a nurse, and remember: Oh yes, I’m ill and depressed. Welcome to her reality.
She’s an excellent example of what Christ said: "They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick." (Matthew 9:12; Luke 5:31, KJV) I may be many things, and I may have many shortcomings and difficulties, but I have my health. My friend is a reminder of what a blessing that is… and what a temptation to pride it is, too. May God protect me from it.