God's love needed everywhere

May 31, 2017 at 5:00 AM

WEV_1729.jpgMuch like the residents at The Right Way in Rivne, Ukraine, individuals suffering for substance abuse in the U.S. need to Lord, too.

(Editor's note: Rev. Deb Mechler of Spencer, Iowa, is a member of a Partnership Ministry Team to Kayes, Mali. She serves as the pastor of Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Royal, Iowa.)

God's love needed everywhere

By Rev. Deb Mechler

Last week I did my duty as a volunteer chaplain for the local hospital during a 24-hour period.  As usual, I scanned the list of patients and determined which ones might not be getting a visit from a local pastor that day. I would ask each one whether they wanted a visit and a prayer.

I have found that God usually has one or two patients in mind who especially need this ministry, and I trust the Holy Spirit’s leading to determine who they are.

This time I visited the patients in the intensive care unit first. The first was a woman who was a little sleepy, but appreciated the chance to pray with me.

Next, I visited a young man whose name I recognized as a member of the community where my previous congregation was located.

I was dismayed to find a young man who is deeply under the influence of a meth addiction. He cried in despair and shame. He begged for prayer. His speech was slurred as he told me he knew he needed God.

His mother spoke tearfully with me in the hall as they did an X-ray on her son, her only child. I did my best to be a witness for Jesus with this young man. I told him that nothing he has ever done or ever will do can keep him from being called God's beloved. I told him that God's love is stronger than the power of methamphetamine. He gripped my hand tightly as I prayed for him.

It occurs to me that he is not unlike many of the patients who are seen by our Luke Society directors. Rarely do I, as an American minister, encounter someone with such an obvious sense of his own brokenness and need, but I wonder if this is more common among some of our directors’ patients.

Regardless of how overtly people’s needs are expressed, they all share the same needs for spiritual and physical healing.

I am praying for this young man and his mother, and for those who are ministering to his needs.

This experience was a reminder that we are surrounded by brokenness – people who desperately need to experience the healing power of God’s love.

Our work is never done.  Thanks be to God that His love and power never run out either.

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