A friend made a challenging request: “We’re working on a booklet to encourage a loved one. I wondered if you had some specific Scripture references related to being in the hospital and recovery.”
It’s challenging because I’m a contextual comforter. I listen for the specific situation and need for encouragement and then offer words from God that seem to fit. But because I know enough about the situation, I’ll offer these.
Psalm 4 is often a night-time prayer that cries out for relief from God and rests in God. It’s honest and hopeful.
Psalm 6 doesn’t feel very comforting at first. But in long hospitalizations, there can be a sense that people are ganging up on us. And this psalm turns to God for help with those feelings.
Psalm 8 turns from our situation to God’s power. We can benefit from remembering the details of the outside world, especially when it’s hard to see them.
Psalm 13 is another “how long” song that ends with “But I trust.” It’s okay to ask how long, to be honest with God about the uncertainty of this moment. And the refrain of trust can be whispered tentatively on the way to giving courage to our hearts.
Psalm 42 starts with a familiar (to some) simile: “As the deer pants for the water, so my soul pants for you.” But then it explores the emotional aloneness, the bone-aching pain, and the soul wrestling that can happen in many settings, including with chronic pain. I mention it because we often find hope in knowing that we are not the first or only one to walk through the feelings and to find courage. And sometimes, we simply need the vocabulary to express the struggle.
Psalm 130 is one of the songs of ascent, many of which are helpful for reading in any faith journey. But this one in particular, with waiting in the middle of it, helps.
But here’s what I know. I work with my own biases. What have you found helpful, those of you who have faced long hospitalizations and recovery? What or who from Scripture has given you courage?
Your comments will be passed on.