Millions have seen Nick Ut’s Pulitzer Prize-winning photo of Phan Thi Kim Phuc (pronounced “fuke”). On June 8, 1972, a napalm bomb was dropped on her village. Phuc, who was just nine-years-old at the time, ran crying from her hiding place in the village temple in Vietnam. Ut’s picture shows Phuc’s arms outstretched in terror and pain, skin flapping from her legs as she cried, “Nong qua! Nong qua!” (“Too hot! Too hot!”).
Doctors said Kim would not survive, but after 14 months in the hospital-and 17 surgeries, she returned to her family. Despite the miraculous recovery, however, Kim was seldom free from pain and nightmares-and anger.
“The anger inside me was like a hatred high as a mountain,” said Kim, “and my bitterness was black as old coffee. I hated my life. I hated all people who were normal, because I was not normal. I wanted to die many times. Doctors helped heal my wounds, but they couldn’t heal my heart.”
While spending time in a library, Kim found a Bible and began reading the New Testament. “The more I read, the more I felt confused,” said Kim. “I wondered which was true—my religion or the Bible.”
Kim’s brother-in-law had a friend who was a Christian, so she arranged to see him with her list of questions. After they talked, the friend invited Kim to visit his church for a Christmas service. The end of the service was a turning point in Kim’s life.
“I could not wait to trust the Lord,” Kim said. “Jesus helped me learn to forgive my enemies, and I finally had some peace in my heart. Now when I look at my scars or suffer pain, I’m thankful the Lord put his mark on my body to remind me that he is with me all the time.”*
What an amazing reminder to each of us, that, although we may have scars in this life (whether they be physical, emotional, or spiritual,) God is there for us to lean on.
“In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears” (Psalm 18:6).
Are you leaning on the Lord today? Are you going to Him with what troubles you most, and choosing to remember that He hears what you are bringing His way? We all have struggles, but God is there to hear us when we cry for help.