As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord takes thought for me.
You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God!
Psalm 40:17 (ESV)
July 23rd of 2015 was a dismal day on the Winnebago reservation in Nebraska. On that day the Indian Health Service (IHS) government hospital, which had failed to properly train and staff this facility, lost its funding for Medicare and Medicaid patients and all services abruptly halted.
Omaha and Winnebago tribal leaders and their members learned of this decision through the news media. Many who live off the reservation had the impression that somehow the Omaha and Winnebago people were at fault or did not deserve health care. The truth was that, once again, the promises of past treaties—this one providing health care in exchange for a vast quantity of land—had been broken.
This wasn’t even the worst part. Victoria Kitcheyan, Winnebago Tribal Treasurer, testified before the United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs that, in the past two years four patient deaths and numerous additional deficiencies have been cited and documented within the hospital. Four people that had died did not have to die.
Tragically, this lack of basic health care is systemic all across Indian Country. On remote reservations, quality health care is hours away and countless people never make it. Their relatives bear the grief, the frustration, and the anger of losing a loved one who could still be alive today. They often become apathetic, and depressed, and battle health crises of their own.
David in the above Psalm realizes how poor and needy he is. By the grace of God, David trusts in his Creator whom he knows takes thought in him. In his pitiful state, he cries out to the One who can help and deliver him. In this Advent season, we remember that God, and God alone, lives up to His promises. Jesus came the first time to pay the price for man’s failures, including not upholding treaty promises. Jesus is coming again to deliver each and everyone who places his or her trust in Him as Lord and Savior. Jesus is our help and our deliverer!
Dear Heavenly Father, You have each and every one of us in your thoughts, You care for us even when it seems like no one else does, empower us to trust in Your Son Jesus as our helper and deliverer, Amen.