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  • Pr. Bill Gerber



Ps. 23: Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou are with me. Our house manager, Larry, has walked through that valley, at the bedside of his mom in Chicago for the past ten days. A heart condition and COPD had ravaged her body. As her body fought to stay with Larry, he would pray asking the Lord for healing. The meds didn’t work. Oxygen therapies had little effect. Her medical team having exhausted all their skills, approaches, tests, meds, and therapies released her to Hospice. Larry had never walked this ‘part of the valley’. He called, we ‘texted’, we prayed. Finally exhausted he sought refuge for some sleep at the Jericho House. A faucet needed repairs. He picked one up on the way home Thursday, PM and started the repair. A stubborn ‘nut’ on a bolt would not release. He gave up, went to bed, slept fitfully. In the morning ‘Joe’, in his mid-30’s, a steady companion of Larry’s walk with Christ, came out to help. That ‘nut’ easily unscrewed. Larry looked at Joe and instantly knew. It was 7:30a.m. Joe stood by as Larry went down stairs to fetch a a drug test kit. At that moment Tom came out of his room to go to work. Something was wrong. Joe started to shake, sweat popped out on his forehead. He became unsteady. Tom called out to Larry By the time Larry got upstairs, Joe was unresponsive in a kitchen chair. Larry immediately called ‘9-1-1’. In just a few seconds, Joe had retrieved the heroin from a packet in his shoe and ‘snorted’ it, before he came out to help. Over-dose. The ‘Narcan’ came via ‘first responders’. Joe would live another day. I was beset by ‘what if’s’. Joe would have died in his room had Larry not called out to him to help with the faucet project. Tom had never used drugs, but ‘knew’ something was wrong. Larry had seen all this before, too many times. And why did Larry just not remain in Chicago? Why did he return to Rockford to ‘fix a faucet, get some rest’. How was it that Larry passed up serving at ‘Ruthie’s Kitchen’ our ‘give-back’ soup kitchen ministry at Zion Lutheran and return to Chicago to be at his Mom’s bedside later Saturday afternoon. And how was it that later that Saturday early evening, Marie went Home to Jesus? Psalm 23: ‘Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

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