Psalm 23:3 “He restoreth my soul.”
I had a crush on him from the minute my teenage body began producing hormones. In the summer of 1995 I married him in the church where we grew up together. On Valentine’s Day, 1996, I was granted a legal annulment of the marriage from the state of Florida on grounds of fraud. It was a dark seven months with some of the strangest experiences and most fearful days of my life. Once we parted, I never saw him again. He cut off all contact with his family. I went on with my life, trying to make sense of it all as best I could. I prayed for his soul, remembering his days of terror when he told me that demons were outside our windows waiting for him.
Today I was back in the church where we were married. His casket was at the front, bearing emblematic reminders that he had been an Eagle Scout. The minister mentioned his love of music, and how his plans for a career playing French Horn were thwarted by an accident that took his hearing in one ear. He talked about the tragedy of it all—a 52-year-old man dead after falling down the stairs and fracturing his skull. And he talked about the lives that had second chances because of the organs that he donated.
The couple who were once my in-laws sat in the life-altering grief that only those who lose a child can know. His brother sang a song. More of the recent story was told. About four years ago he had suddenly re-connected with his family. The years of silence were never mentioned. They had gone on a cruise together with people from the church. They went to Southern Gospel concerts. He decided last fall to move back home. He had re-dedicated his life to Christ and had re-joined the church. I sat stunned. It was the story of redemption.
I don’t know what the demons outside the windows were. Perhaps they were the hallucinations of a troubled mind. There were times I thought they were probably real demons and that they probably weren’t all outside. But as the story came to a close and we recited the 23rd Psalm together, “He resotreth my soul” washed over me like new rain. Whatever the nature of those demons, not even that sort of hold could keep a man from God.
Whether you think of it as the deathly grip of addiction and mental illness or some Faustian pact, the reading from Romans sang loud and clear. Nothing, but nothing could separate him from the love of God. Perhaps from the prayers of a mother who never gave up, somewhere he found the strength to deny the dark and light a candle. He called his family. He came home. He returned to both his earthly and heavenly fathers. His soul was restored.
And, as I grasped the reality of an honest-to-goodness redemption, so was mine.
I once was lost, but now am found; was blind, but now I see. Amen.
SpiritWalkers is available in audio as a podcast. Visit www.annerobertson.com/poddevotions.html to subscribe or to listen online.
Be sure to check out my books: Blowing the Lid Off the God-Box and God’s Top 10: Blowing the Lid Off the Commandments. Order now on Amazon.com or check local bookstores.