Heal Me, Hands of Jesus

Beloved Faith Family:

Those who know the Burgess family story know that our 21-year-old son was born 5 weeks early. His lungs were severely underdeveloped even for that age. We spent the first several months in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) with our son in a medically induced coma on a special ventilator to buy him time for his lungs to grow. I thank God AND all the medical professionals involved in our son’s care through those difficult months. Jacob is a healthy adult today.

When we finally got infant Jacob home from the hospital, we had to continue around the clock breathing treatments and percussion therapy every 4 hours. That’s a nice way of saying that we “juiced him” with aerosol meds and then “beat the bejibbers” out of him as instructed by the doctors. Needless to say, one of the lesser problems (but certainly longer-lasting) was getting our infant to sleep through the first several years of his life.

Early on, part of that “going back to bed” rhythm involved us singing to our son – sometimes one song – sometimes 20 songs. I didn’t know as many songs as Shannon did so I turned to the only book of songs I had – it was the United Methodist Hymnal. Through his toddler years, we maintained that bedtime rhythm of storytime, prayer time, song time, hopefully as the path to snooze time.

Our toddler’s favorite hymn (maybe it was the only one I could marginally sing) was #261 Lord of the Dance. He would rarely let Shannon or I get away with the bedtime routine without singing that song. In the 1989 Hymnal, Lord of the dance takes up one and a half pages. On the other half page is UMH #262. It’s a song I didn’t know and since I can’t read music – it was “just words” to me.

As Jacob would slumber off into “la-la land”, I would always be left in God’s Presence reading the words of Hymn #262 to myself. Those words became my sustaining prayer in a season of life that ended well – but seemed like – it lasted an eternity. Maybe those words that have comforted me for so many years, might comfort you right now too. Here they are:

Heal me, hands of Jesus,
and search out all my pain;
restore my hope, remove my fear,
and bring me peace again.

Cleanse me, blood of Jesus,
take bitterness away;
let me forgive as one forgiven
and bring me peace today.

Know me, mind of Jesus,
and show me all my sin;
dispel the memories of guilt
and bring me peace within.

Fill me, joy of Jesus;
anxiety shall cease,
and heaven’s serenity be mine,
for Jesus brings me peace!

Heal Me, Hands of Jesus
Text: Michael Perry
Music: Norman Warren

God’s Peace,