Friday, July 29, 2011

The Trip to the Psych Ward

Today Abby and I visited the psych ward.  One of my hospice patients, Darrell,*  had been transferred there last week.  Jeff was really wary about me taking Abby into the psych ward.  He had to relay a horrible story about a woman who yanked a baby out of a stroller, slammed him into a rail and tried to yank his arm off.  Thankfully the baby only suffered minor injuries.   I assured Jeff I would wear Abby in her carrier and wouldn't allow patients near her.  

I personally believe you are safest serving God where He has placed you.   If He has called you and your family to go into an inner city amongst drug addicts and street gangs, then you are safest serving Him there rather than holed up in a cabin in Montana.  The God who kept the fire from singeing Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and the God who shut the lion's mouths is still our same God today.  Now I do not believe in tempting God and purposely putting ourselves in harm's way just to test His power and our faith.

"And Jesus answered and said to him, "It has been said, 'You shall not tempt the LORD your  God.'" Luke 4:12
Darrell has been a patient that I've really enjoyed getting to know.  We've visited at length about his military service, his career in the postal service and his love for his wife of 55 years.  I'm only a volunteer so I'm often not privy to medical information, but I surmise he was taken to the psych ward due to severe depression.  His one desire is to return home and his wife is just not able to care for him.  He cannot grasp this.  This one desire consumes him: he just wants to go home to be with the love of his life.  We've spoken about the Lord and I'm not certain what his spiritual condition is, although he considers himself to be a Christian.  I've reminded him that God has prepared a home for Him in heaven and that while he may never permanently return to his earthly home, the heavenly one is much better.  I've prayed with him and read scripture to him and each time I do, it brings him to tears.  He's mentioned that there's no medical cure for a "broken heart."  I try to remind him of the blessings he can be thankful for, but it's quite difficult for me as an untrained professional to deal with someone who is so depressed.  I don't want to say the wrong thing.  I know I can't "fix" him.  Only God can.

In a sermon regarding spiritual depression, John Piper comments: 

"On this side of the cross, we know the greatest ground for our hope: Jesus Christ crucified for our sins and triumphant over death. So the main thing we must learn is to preach the gospel to ourselves:
Listen, self: If God is for you, who can be against you? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for you, how will he not also with him graciously give you all things? Who shall bring any charge against you as God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for you. Who shall separate you from the love of Christ? (Romans 8:31–35 paraphrased)"
So true. God's love for us remains unchanging no matter the circumstances. But this message is difficult to convey to hurting people who are wallowing in self-pity.  

*Name has been changed.

I'm linked up with:

Beholding Glory


  1. This is very beautiful! God is faithful. and I'm sure that He will always help you to say the right thing at the right time. Blessings!

  2. I liked the reminder that we are safest serving God where He has placed us-thanks for that reminder.

  3. I enjoyed reading your post very much, a very touching story. How blessed this man is to have you in his life and not be totally alone. God is certainly using you there.

    Something you said about being safe reminded me of something Corrie Ten Boom said, quoting her sister Betsy I think, "One place is not safer than another, the safest place to be is in the center of God's will." I have remembered this ever since because I thought it was very profound.

    Thank you for sharing this post. I am stopping by from Beholding Glory.

    Charlotte/For Such A Time As This


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