FROM WHERE DOES MY HELP COME? - The Warrior's Journey®


Author: Scott McChrystal, USA (Ret.)

Shooting Star. Photo by U.S. Army is licensed under CC By 2.0

The COVID-19 pandemic has raised theological questions—understandably so. People are asking, “Are we now seeing signs that the world as we know it is about to end? Is this horrible virus punishment by the Almighty?  Is there anything we can do?”

In the Woods

U.S. Soldiers assigned to the 753rd Quarter Master Company out of Green Bay, Wisconsin set up security behind sand bags during Combat Support Training exercise (CSTX) on Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst NJ, June 15, 2019. CSTX 78-19-02 is a Combat Support Training Exercise that ensures Army Reserve units are trained and ready, and bring capable, combat-ready, and lethal firepower in support of the Army and our joint partners anywhere in the world. (U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Jorge Reyes)

No doubt—we are facing a very serious situation. Many people have lost their lives. There are hopeful signs that in some places that the number of cases of coronavirus is leveling out, but we’re definitely not out of the woods yet.

I don’t know how COVID-19 has impacted you, your family, or other other important people in your life. For most of us, we’re anxious and fearful as we wonder how long this pandemic will last and what will be the ultimate impact on lives and on the economy. For many, present circumstances represent a giant inconvenience. We hate losing our freedom to move around as we please. We want “normal” back.

The situation gets more serious for others, and it’s far more than an inconvenience. It’s the loss of a job or business along with the myriad of consequences that follow. I could list many more negative impacts, but you get the point.

Reality Check

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Richard Walton, assistant operations noncommissioned officer, Indo-Pacific directorate, Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), renders honors during an honorable carry for the possible remains of unidentified U.S. service members lost during the Vietnam War at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, Mar. 31, 2019. The remains were recently received through a unilateral transfer from the Kingdom of Cambodia as part of DPAA’s efforts to provide the fullest possible accounting of our missing personnel to their families and the nation. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Jamarius Fortson)

Tragically, death has struck a blow across our nation, and we yet don’t know what the full extent of the loss of life will be. Just recently, my daughter who works in the medical field related sad news about her medical assistant, Susan (name changed). Susan’s husband contracted coronavirus and they placed him in intensive care on a ventilator. She was subsequently tested for coronavirus and came up positive and ordered to quarantine herself at home. A couple of days later she was notified that her husband was near death. Try as she did, she was not permitted to visit her husband of over 50 years before he died. She remains isolated in her home. I don’t yet know how funeral arrangements will be handled.

Susan’s situation is not the only one. I’m certain there are other stories like it.

Leaders across our nation, starting with our President, have been working 24/7. The governmental sector now seems to be teaming with the private sector to combat this situation. Personally, I’ve been encouraged by evidences of unity—we’re working together. We’re learning a lot.

Being Present

This doesn’t dismiss the numerous questions for which we don’t have the answers. In the theological realm, I’ve been amused by some of the articles written by so-called “theological experts.” Using a football metaphor, a few of them are “outrunning their coverage”, meaning that they’re speaking about things which they really don’t know. Admittedly, though, everyone is entitled to an opinion.

Spc. Jewell Hobbs, 92Y Supply, C Co., 145th Bridgade Support Battalion out of Gowen Field, Boise, Idaho, gets close to the end of her six-hour tower shift at the National Training Center (NTC) in Fort Irwin, Calif., May 31, 2019. At first scared to come to NTC, Hobbs says she is now excited to go "into the box" for her training regiment. A month-long NTC rotation provides more than 4,000 service members from 31 states, including units from 13 National Guard states and territories, with realistic training to enhance their combat, support and sustainment capabilities. (Photo by Cpl. Alisha Grezlik, 115th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

A number of years ago, I called a fellow military chaplain who had recently lost his 30-year-old daughter to brain cancer. We spoke for a few minutes and I tried to be careful not to “outrun my coverage” in speculating why his daughter had died at such an early age. After a few minutes I asked him if he was struggling with the “why” of his situation. His answer was profound: “Scott, at times like this I’ve found it most helpful not to focus on things I don’t know. Instead, I focus on what I do know.” Our conversation immediately shifted to some things about God that we do know.

Why did my chaplain friend’s daughter die so young? Why did Susan’s husband contract coronavirus and die before she was able to see him while he was still alive? I don’t know.

But I do know some things—about God, His love, his mercy, and his care for us. I’ve printed out Psalm 121 in its entirety. Please read it carefully. Meditate on what it is saying to you—personally.

Psalm 121:1-8 (ESV)

U.S. Army Spc. Daniel Hatfield, from 1st Platoon, Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Division, Task Force No Fear, climbs a hill while conducting a patrol from Outpost Mace to Outpost Fawlad, during Operation Toufan Fawlad, in the Naray district, Kunar province, Nov. 17, 2011. U.S. soldiers of Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Division, Task Force No Fear, are building watch positions to enable the ANSF to re-establish OP Fawlad.

1 I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?
2 My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.
4 Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade on your right hand.
6 The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.
7 The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.
8 The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.

A Few Thoughts

  • Look around at creation. God is the Creator of all of it. He cares for His creation. Most importantly, He cares about you.
  • God never sleeps—never. He’s always watching, watching over you. Even it your foot slips, He knows it.
  • The Lord has charge over your life. Like shade from the sun, God is your Cover, your Rock, your Fortress, your strong Tower.
  • He protects you during the day and all through the night.
  • God is the Keeper of your life. You will live all the days ordained for your life. Evil will not take you before that time.
  • God will watch over you—whether you’re coming in or going out. He will do this today, tomorrow, next month, next year, and forevermore.

The Invitation

FORT BENNING, Ga. – Trainees from Foxtrot Company, 2nd Battalion, 19th Infantry Regiment, negotiate a confidence course on Sand Hill Feb. 27, 2019 at Fort Benning. The mission of the 2/19th Infantry Battalion is to transform civilians into disciplined Infantrymen. (U.S. Army photo by Patrick Albright, Maneuver Center of Excellence, Fort Benning Public Affairs)

How do I know this is true? Because Jesus gave His life for you and for me. His invitation to spend eternity with Him is extended to every person.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (ESV)

My prayer is that you have accepted Jesus’s invitation to spend eternity with Him. If not, I urge you to give this your most serious consideration. Eternity is a very long time.

Accepting Jesus into your heart has many advantages in this life—far more than this article can possibly cover. But there is one blessing I can’t resist mentioning. It’s about peace, something I think we’re all looking for at this time.

God Has Your Back

Admittedly, keeping eternal perspective is difficult, particularly with COVID-19 occupying most of thoughts, our time, and our efforts. We’re focused on the now, tomorrow, and the near future.

Once again, the words of Jesus:

 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” John 14:27 (ESV)

May you rest in the peace that only Jesus can provide. God has your back.


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