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GOD'S WORD IN A MENTAL HOSPITAL


I think you'll agree that all true and sincere spiritual movement in your life has been caused and created by the word of God.


I served for one year as a part-time chaplain at a mental hospital. One of my duties there was to help people suffering from chemical addiction. I believe that God is always working in everyone's life. They may still be resisting Him and avoiding His efforts. Therefore to move forward with people I always asked this question. "When did you ever sense the work of God in your life? When did you sense that you were closest to God?" Inevitably they would refer back to a time when the word of God was somehow present. They recalled Sunday school classes, going to worship with grandparents or friends, vacation Bible school experiences, and the like. No one ever said they sensed the presence of the Lord in the bowling alley, at the baseball field, in the theater, or by watching TV.


One particular experience stands out. I was working with a woman who was about thirty years old. She looked older than forty. She confessed that she was addicted to anything that you can possibly be addicted to: alcohol, drugs, and sex. If she continued in this direction her life would soon be over, and she knew it. I asked her my question about the time when she sensed the work of God in her life. Here is her story:


She had never had any exposure to Christianity in her home or among any of her friends. One day she and her roommate were getting high in their apartment. Two ladies came to share the good news of Jesus Christ. She and her friend thought this might be some fun especially considering the state of mind they were in.


They invited the evangelists in and began to berate them. They laughed at everything they said. They cursed them and made fun of the way they looked and lived their lives. Surprisingly the two Christians did not give up. They continued to work through their presentation of the Gospel. They did not get angry or argumentative. They just shared the bad news of sin and good news of forgiveness in Christ.


Later that night the one girl that would later meet with me laid on her bed thinking about that incident. She was ashamed of they way she and her friend had acted. She was impressed that the Christians could be so caring and so sincere. They had something that she wanted. It would be many years before she would actually become a Christian, but that little event was one of the keys to her conversion. She never forgot the Bible message through which God the Holy Spirit was calling her to Christ.


Source: Michael P Walther, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Collinsville, Illinois Pentecost 4, July 10, 2011.)

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