A Very Present Help

Written by Steve Ballinger. Posted in Devotions

A Very Present Help

“. . .I am Almighty God . . .
– Genesis 17:1-

Recently, my wife and I had the honor and privilege of flying back, for the fifth time, to Washington D.C. to attend the National Police Week Ceremonies. We go there with the hope and prayer of ministering to the survivors of our fallen officers. The Lord is gracious and seems to always give us many opportunities to provide emotional and spiritual care with different family members, fellow officers, and friends.

Many of the survivors will want to talk about their loved one, and we give them the opportunity to do so. To sit and listen to their stories is difficult at best, and heart wrenching at worst. As they share their heartache, our own hearts begin to break for them. As much as we would like to heal their hurt, we realize we cannot put a band-aid on a broken heart. These people, in their darkest hour, need comfort and strength much greater than my wife or I can provide. They need the strength of Almighty God to meet their needs and get them through their valley of sorrow and grief. That is the hope we desire to share with them.

I am reminded of an event that took place when I was in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. For one week I had the opportunity to ride with the New Orleans Police Department out of District 6 (Fort Apache). As I stood against the back wall during briefing one morning, I noticed a newspaper tacked to the wall, encased in glass. The story was about an officer that had been killed in the line of duty a couple years earlier. There was also a picture of the officer’s wife and their five-year-old son. Underneath the headline was a quote from the officer’s wife. She stated,

“He [her child] said, ‘I want to be a police officer so some mean man can kill me so I can be with my daddy.’ I just grabbed him and cried. I couldn’t believe this was coming out of my five year old’s mouth. That’s when I really began hurting.”

I share this with the hope that we will never, ever forget the pain and loss the families of our fellow officers and firefighters who have fallen in the line of duty endure on a daily basis. Though it may feel awkward to some of you, nonetheless, when we see these hurting people, let us be willing to go to them, talk to them, hug them, and let them know that they, nor their loved one will ever be forgotten. Most of all, when the opportunity presents itself, let’s remind them that God wants to be their strength and fortress in their affliction.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble”
-Psalms 46:1-

God bless you,

Chaplain Steve

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