The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never
leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.
“Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.”
So we say with confidence,
“The Lord is my helper;
I will not be afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me?”
Last week I visited a man who had recently received a terminal
prognosis. When I entered the room, he was distressed. After I
introduced myself and the purpose of my visit, he shared several things
that distressed him. Upon sharing that he was a Vietnam Vet, he asked,
“Have you ever been chased by someone who is trying to kill you?” Later
in our conversation, he stated that he was experiencing recurring
horrible memories and night terrors from his Vietnam tour. He proceeded
to share the following memory with me: When he first landed in Vietnam
and their group was bombarded by artillery fire, the pilot ordered them
out of the plane and left, leaving them in the tall grass to fend for
themselves. He remembered that half of their group was killed, and he
wondered aloud, “Why did I survive?” Tearfully, he also share that he
was worried about his spouse’s financial future when he died. When our
visit was concluding, he thanked me for coming and shared that he felt
relief from our conversation. I encouraged him to continue to talk
about his experiences with a trusted friend or counselor to relieve the
stress/fear/anxiety. A nurse reported to me later that when she visited
him the next morning, he stated that he had slept all night for the
first time in a long time. My presence with him in this visit was an
example of what the above scriptures share.
How does one know that God is with them if no one comes to them in
grace and trust? I listened to this man’s experience, and several
things transpired. First, when he shared his experience, he no longer
was alone; someone was listening. As he talked, he also had the chance
to discover other resources, both within him and outside of him, to
help him deal with the trauma. One of those resources is God’s spirit.
The Bible states that “where two or more are gathered in God’s name,
God is there with them.” Once we recognize that we are not alone in our
experience, and especially that the God of the Universe is by our side,
then we can say with confidence (like the author of Hebrews) “What can
mere mortals do to me?”
May we live with confidence that the One who is present with us is
willing and able to assist us through any circumstance!
Joseph F. Perez, M.Div., BCC
Valley Baptist Health System
2101 Pease Street
Harlingen, TX 78550
May God grant you resource for the journey!