I am usually the one bringing a good word from God to someone in distress. But I have been on the other side of the transaction, too. Twenty years ago we rushed my little boy to the hospital as he struggled to get a breath. His gasps for air were coming at more than one per second. He cried, but there were no tears. The staff at the first hospital were unable to get an IV started. An ambulance rushed him to the Children’s Hospital where they have more experience with infants. The next morning his condition was stable, and his parents had not had a wink of sleep.
My pastor found us in a room that morning, my son in a crib, my wife in a chair, and me sitting on the floor–all of us exhausted. His visit was short, perhaps no more than 10 minutes. He spoke about Joshua 1:9, “Be strong and courageous…the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” He prayed. He left us to rest.
Those words that morning were like food. We devoured them like people on the edge of starvation. I felt like King David’s dear friend, Saul’s son, Jonathan discovering honey after an exhausting battle. “He reached out the end of the staff that was in his hand and dipped it into the honeycomb. He raised his hand to his mouth and his eyes brightened” (1 Samuel 14:27). Our souls brightened to hear God’s promise of presence after a night of battling for our child’s life.
“Hunger is the best cook,” they say. Guilt, regret, illness, heartache, rejection, danger, loss–these create the hunger that whets our appetite for just a taste, just a bite, from God’s promises. “My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life,” the psalmist observes in Psalm 119 (vs. 50). I pray that the words and promises on this page, even if just little bits of bread for the soul, will brighten your eyes.