It happens to most of us at some time in our lives. Iíve just had a couple of short spells in hospital. Many people say that it easily becomes "a learning experience." Well then, what is it that we "learn" from being helpless, or in the grip of pain, or just ill? Some of my friends seem to assume that I would spend my time praying, and others tell me that they, too, tried to pray in hospital but rarely got beyond the first few words, because there was too much in their minds, or hearts, already! I donít think many of us are very good at formal prayer when what is happening to us is serious enough to make us think hard anyway. People donít "say prayers" in the trenches. That is what shocked some of the army chaplains so much in World War I. Here is a psalm that tries to express some of that. I donít know if it helps, whether or not youíre in hospital. But I have deliberately included some of the phrases that keep me going, in normal times too. For example, the well-known part of the poem used by King George VI in his Christmas broadcast before he died, and the graffiti found in a house in Cologne where Jews had been waiting to discover their fate in World War II.
- I never knew I was able to trust
until they took me in a chair to the operation.
- Trust is not just a hurried prayer
not merely a form of words at the theatre door.
- Put your hand into the hand of God
that shall be better than a way that is known;
- put your trust in the hands of others
that is better than trying to cure your own ills.
- When all is done, I can only trust:
human life depends on living in faith,
- for I cannot know everything for certain:
I cannot wait to act until Iím sure.
- Hearing that voice on the phone is like watching the News
in spite of whatís happened, the worldís the same [place].
- Normally, I do not care who is my neighbour
until he makes a disturbance that annoys me;
- here, weíre all together in the same ward:
if my neighbour disturbs me, itís because heís ill.
- Even when the sunís not shining, I believe itís there:
when God does not speak to me, I can still trust.
- So help me put my life in othersí hands:
to grow in trust of God and other people.