[click here to listen to the podcast
] and covered locally with an excellent article
right here on RL.
Our personal story is one that hits home for many people who wonder how they will cope with the changes and the administrative blunders of the Affordable Care Act. People have many different viewpoints of what has happened and why. Some of those views are supported by facts, tainted by emotions and/or viewed through the lense of political issues. Since our story has been shared, I have heard from other people, many of them, parents of medically challenged kids whose lives are being turned upside down and the stability of their healthcare hangs in the balance. Then there are those who have fought a harder battle than us with no healthcare insurance who still seem to see no options. I pray we find a solution.
The last few weeks, I have been riding a roller coaster, on the phone to insurance companies and agencies, researching options and reading updates on the web, while helping Jo heal from her last surgery and longer hospital stay. I’m feeling pretty exhausted these days. Friday was exciting and hard, as our story was shared in formats for public comment. Opinions and commentary flooded in from all over the country through Facebook. Most people expressed concern, others disdain, still others fear and worry about the state of healthcare in the United States.
That night, I held Johanna as she cried herself to sleep in my arms, the pain in her head and spine, untouched by the remedies I offered. As I drifted off to sleep I wondered if what was accomplished for advocacy really mattered if I can’t take away her pain. The next morning, I was grateful for the sunlight as I gathered my blanket, my bible and coffee and headed to the porch to pray. There I poured out my heart to the Lord and asked Him to take these efforts, for better and for worse, and use it all for His glory.
Once again, I thought of the pain of countless Americans and the need to pray for this country and our leaders as I turned to this scripture from 2 Chronicles 7:14:
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
These words from scripture convicted me. If I am who I claim to be; a Christian, called by Christ, then I am called to approach the Lord in humility, repenting of my sin to seek God’s beautiful face. Then not only will God hear me from heaven, but I will hear His voice from heaven as He forgives my sins and heals this land. Then I can pray for this country, unattached to political agendas and seeking only that; “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
I am not suggesting that believers absent themselves from the work of government and the defense of freedom. However, if we but humble ourselves and pray, it will make a world of difference, one person at a time. This is where it begins; with honoring and protecting the dignity of one person. I was struck the last few weeks by the photographsof Pope Francis, as he embraced and greeted two men who were profoundly disfigured. The attribute I most respect in Pope Francis is his compassion and his ability to cut through the pomp and circumstance of his official position, to focus on the one person before him who needs him the most.
His example reminds me that hearts and minds are changed by respecting and honoring the person before us who needs us the most. The solutions for fixing our healthcare system cannot be found apart from respecting the rights of every human person from conception to natural death. And likewise prayer for our country and our leaders begins in the humility of our own hearts as we seek God’s face to heal this land.
This week we celebrate Thanksgiving. The first Thanksgiving brought unlikely groups and cultures together to share the fruit of their labor and to thank God for prospering the work of their hands. This week, in preparation for Thanksgiving, I am turning my heart to the Lord with humility and in gratitude for the gifts we have received. I am going to pray for President Obama and all those in leadership that may seek God’s face in heaven that God’s healing may come to our land.
I found a simple prayer online that I think summarizes these concerns. If it moves your heart, then join me in prayer or offer your own prayers to the Lord. May this Thanksgiving be one of love and light for you and your family and may God hear us in heaven, forgive us our sins and turn His face to heal our land.
Prayer for Our Country
bless our nation
and make it true
to the ideas of freedom and justice
and brotherhood for all who make it great.
Guard us from war,
from fire and wind,
from compromise, fear, confusion.
Be close to our president and our statesmen;
give them vision and courage,
as they ponder decisions affecting peace and the future of the world.
Make me more deeply aware of my heritage; realizing not only my rights
but also my duties
and responsibilities as a citizen.
Make this great land
and all its people
know clearly Your will,
that they may fulfill
the destiny ordained for us
in the salvation of the nations,
and the restoring of all things in Christ. Amen. (catholic.org/prayers)
Eileen Benthal has a B.A. in theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville. She is a writer, speaker and wellness coach at 40DaysToFocus.com and NOFO Wellness Center. She works with clients locally and around the U.S. who are excited about balancing their health in body, mind and spirit.
Eileen and her husband Steve live in Jamesport and have four young adult children. Their youngest, 16-year-old Johanna, is a teenager with special needs. Eileen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org andfacebook.com/40DaysToFocus.