1 May 2019
I once knew a woman in a long-term psychiatric hospital who endured a burden of suffering which she once described very accurately as ‘a living sorrow’. Her burden was made much worse because she had to carry it herself.
There was little I could do to ease the burden except be there and sometimes that was difficult too. Often she would say that she could only continue living because of God’s strength. Every day her prayer was for peace of mind.
Although it wasn’t always answered, it didn’t cause her to lose her faith. And although she had no obvious reason to celebrate the love of God, she never gave up loving him. In this way, she strengthened my faith.
On one occasion, she told me her favourite prayer and despite her depression, her physical disability and difficulties in her speech, she invited me, her minister, to join her in prayer and without faltering, she said:
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me …