During my devotional time this month I am going to lay a foundation for a new year; a new shot at recovery; a chance to consider where you want to be NEXT year at this time.
Once upon a time I had a friend who spent some quality time in a psychiatric facility after a failed suicide attempt. It was New Year’s Day and he was feeling hopeless. Over Christmas break some very dark secrets had been revealed and he was ashamed and embarrassed. Unable to figure out how to face the future, he decided everyone would be better off without him. When his plan failed he was checked into a safe(r) place where a team could help him sort through his situation and find support for his recovery. After he was stabilized the team found a long term residential treatment facility for him to follow up the acute care he had received with longer term recovery support. Eventually he healed; he learned how to live with the truth; he learned that others could be trusted with his truth too. But this wasn’t that day; this was a day when we hung out in a cinderblock-walled facility with sad, leftover Christmas decorations seated in uncomfortable plastic chairs.
He talked; I listened. After a while he had to go to a meeting; I returned to my assigned locker, grabbed my ID and keys and went home to spend the rest of the day wondering what went wrong and what maybe, just possibly, could go right for this guy in the future. As I pondered all the thoughts my friend laid on me that day I was increasingly unconvinced that his depression was talking truth him. In my bible I came across this series of verses while I was looking for something to pray on behalf of my friend. It’s in the gospel of Luke, a book written by a physician turned narrator. Sixth chapter.
“I’ll show what it’s like when someone comes to me, hears my words, and puts them into practice. It’s like a person building a house by digging deep and laying the foundation on bedrock. When the flood came, the rising water smashed against that house, but the water couldn’t shake the house because it was well built.” (verses 47 and 48)
My friend felt that his house of cards had come tumbling down and he didn’t know how to rebuild, much less make a home for himself in this world. His personal tsunami revealed a faulty foundation. But it seems to me that Jesus had words worth heeding, especially for someone who knew that they were on shaky ground. Today, this first day of 2017, it is my prayer for you as it was long ago for my friend…
Show us, Lord Jesus, what to put into practice. Teach us what we need to learn. Give us muscles and endurance to dig deep and lay our foundation on bedrock. Allow us to build a house that is sturdy and strong – able to withstand the smashing waves and blowing winds. Amen.