Bench Therapy

"1 In the past you were spiritually dead because of your sins and the things you did against God.2 Yes, in the past you lived the way the world lives, following the ruler of the evil powers that are above the earth. That same spirit is now working in those who refuse to obey God. 3 In the past all of us lived like them, trying to please our sinful selves and doing all the things our bodies and minds wanted. We should have suffered God's anger because we were sinful by nature. We were the same as all other people.

4 But God's mercy is great, and he loved us very much.5 Though we were spiritually dead because of the things we did against God, he gave us new life with Christ. You have been saved by God's grace.6 And he raised us up with Christ and gave us a seat with him in the heavens. He did this for those in Christ Jesus7 so that for all future time he could show the very great riches of his grace by being kind to us in Christ Jesus.8 I mean that you have been saved by grace through believing. You did not save yourselves; it was a gift from God.9 It was not the result of your own efforts, so you cannot brag about it.10 God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us to do good works, which God planned in advance for us to live our lives doing." - Ephesians 2:1-10 (NCV)

“You want me to see him?” I asked the Charge Nurse after seeing a very young male inmate watching t.v. from the cold metal bench where he was sitting.

The unit called prior to his arrival. They said that this inmate was complaining of chest pain.

Words do get passed around. Inmates are aware of the magic word.

“Chest pain!”

They know when to use that because they know that this medical condition can never be denied to be evaluated. They know that they can immediately see the medical staff even if that is not the true symptom.

Just like him…With his young face, slightly disheveled curly hair and his expression seemed lost. I could see him looking at the t.v. monitor but his thoughts were flying somewhere else. Perhaps, tracing back what brought him to the prison in the first place. Perhaps, regretting why he did a crime in the first place. Yet, he might also seem proud and consider that his trophy instead.

“He’s only 19! Give us a break! He can wait there for as long as he wants to!” answered the Charge Nurse.

“We are so busy right now and his situation doesn’t even need any attention. Let him wait!” she added.

I could see where the Charge Nurse was coming from. We usually called that “bench therapy” where we let the inmates who did not have any true medical emergencies wait and wait. And wait. And wait. Until they realized it was not really comfortable to be waiting in the Clinic. For nothing.

Coming from outside, living a dysfunctional life, finding hope in wrong places, seeking temporary pleasures from different ill ways, looking for love that they had no clue what it was like in the first place if they had not tasted a true kind of love, seeking attention that they wanted as most of the time, they were probably rejected by many and that would always be the behavior they knew in order to get what they wanted. How could they find hope, how could they change for the better if no one gave them a chance? Or at least someone would give them the benefit of the doubt?

I looked again and saw the frustration from his tired and impatient face. But he couldn’t do anything. He knew he would get in trouble even if he tried to speak or say something against what was told.

I often wondered. When was it the right time to give the “bench therapy” or not? Giving it to someone with a heart hungry to be loved, to be respected despite the age, young or old, might not be the best answer to every situation. It was more like punitive.

"You may go back to your unit now!" yelled the Charge Nurse after hours and hours she made the inmate waited.

My heart sank. I did not make the decision. But I knew I did not even try to offer my help. I felt helpless as I was told to do my work and not see him. But in the back of my mind, I knew I was letting go of a soul who might be desperate for help. A different kind of help. His heart was hurting to be loved and be accepted. The way I once was. The state in which Jesus found me and instead of giving me a bench therapy, He led me to the foot of His cross and immediately made it known how much He loved me and cared for me. He poured his love unconditionally into my empty heart. He made His love overflowed but with the last command for me not to go back to my old ways. His command was for me to "share His gift of love with others who don't know Him."

The young man's footsteps were long gone in the long, silent corridor. But his demand was still very much audible that I just started praying for him. And for me. I needed His continued guidance and forgiveness...
All posts/composed songs copyright by RCUBEs.


The Attacker (5/15/09)

The sun was just peeking from the Eastern skies. Ephesians 6:12 [37 kb]

Out in the prison’s yard, some huge Sheriff’s buses were illuminated by the soft glow coming from the lights all over from the tall lamp posts. Their engines were turned on, warming up, before the buses would take the inmates to the different courts where they would have their trials.

Orange-uniformed men were lined up in pairs, joined together with handcuffs and chained, forming a long line. They already had their breakfast and had their morning medications prior to going to courts. Some were fidgeting, as they waited to board those buses.

All of a sudden, all hell broke loose! Two men were engaged in a fight, using weapons they made secretly for a while. Deputies called for help on the radio, both for custody back-up and medical staff, as well.

When the air was cleared and the other inmates were secured, one man was down on the floor. He sustained multiple gashes but two of them were deep. One cut was vertically etched from his left ear going down to the jaw line. The other dangerous cut was horizontal on his left neck, close to the jugular vein. Pool of blood dripped all over the floor. Holding his bleeding neck, he was pointing at the other inmate few feet away, being guarded by the other deputies.

The other man being accused was not hurt. There were no lacerations nor any other signs of trauma. He was obviously very agitated as he was being questioned by those deputies, while the medical staff started treating the other man on the floor. They cleaned the wounds and controlled the bleeding. That man was sent to the nearby hospital.

When the investigation was finalized, it turned out to be that the “downed man who was accusing the other inmate” was the attacker and the other one who didn’t have injury was the one attacked. The deputies found out that it was the second attempt to attack the unhurt man. Both attacks on him failed. He was well-prepared after the first attempt on him, that when the second attempt was done, he was able to defend himself and ended up injuring his attacker severely.

[Source: NLT Bible ]:

We also have an “accuser of the brethren.” Satan and his army of demons are the enemies of God and of everything good.

“Because God’s children are human beings – made of flesh and blood – Jesus also became flesh and blood by being born in human form. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the Devil, who had the power of death.” –Hebrews 2:14

Because of what Jesus had done [dying on the cross], we, who live in constant fear of death shouldn’t be afraid anymore. Jesus had freed us from that fear so we can live for Him. When we belong to God, we know that death is only the portal that leads into “eternal life”. [“Thank You Lord!].

Paul warned us, too that we also battle against the evil forces of Satan, who is a vicious fighter. But to be able to withstand their attacks, we must depend on God’s strength and use every piece of His armor. We face an army whose goal is to defeat Christ’s church. When we believe in Christ, they become our enemies. They will try any device to turn us away from the Lord.

Fear not! For God has provided His supernatural power to defeat Satan and his army, through His Holy Spirit within us. So, arm yourselves with God’s armor.

Let us be strong in the Lord's mighty power. Let's put on His whole armor to resist the enemy's attacks: put on the sturdy belt of truth and the body armor of God's righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News, so that we are well-prepared. We will need faith in every battle as our shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed by Satan and his army. Let us put on salvation as our helmet, not forgetting the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Let's pray at all times, on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit. We must stay alert and be persistent in our prayers for all Christians everywhere. [Ephesians 6:10-18].