Author: Squier, Judy
Date published: December 1, 2012
How often do we reach out to bless another only to find ourselves the recipients of the greater blessing?
I was privileged to serve at a Joni and Friends Wounded Warrior Getaway for marines who were recently injured in Afghanistan and/or Iraq. Lord, use me to provide some inspiration for these national heroes.
Four days of inspiration were wrapped in fun and relaxation with the week's highlight saved for the final hour. Spirits soared as a patriotic medley played and the marines' children marched in waving small American flags.
We all knew that the heroes of America the Beautiful were in our very midst:
O beautiful for heroes proved in liberating strife,
Who more than self their country Joved
And mercy more than life!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine!
By divine providence I found myself seated beside a hero with a cane, the tallest cane I'd ever seen.
"May I hold your cane?" I whispered. It was mine in an instant.
With both hands now gripping his cane my mind flashed back half a century to when I was a ten-year-old walking on my first set of artificial limbs aided by a cane. A cane had steadied me as I walked on six more sets of prostheses. Set number seven - I could visualizae standing in my closet but where was my cane?
Truth be told I felt disdain toward my cane. Yes, it helped me walk but it also singled me out as a wounded warrior, reminding me daily that I'd never run with the big dogs.
Twas a divine appointment I do believe to find myself seated beside a big dog marine - a man's man - all six-foot-five inches of him. Not just a big dog on the outside, but a bigger dog inside. His love of country inspired him to enter harm's way. An improvised explosive device (IED) took him down, requiring multiple surgeries to reconstruct his face, his hands and his lower limbs, A posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is his daily battlefield.
"Are you bitter?" I had asked him earlier.
"Not at all," he answered. "Taking the blast means I potentially saved the lives of up to niiie fellow marines. Fd go back in a minute."
His sacrificial attitude brought a shock wave of healing deep within me. Disdain gave way to sweet wonder as I realized my cane was actually a shepherd's crook that early on drew me close to the Good Shepherd of Psalm 23. And doesn't He have a cane (staff)? And doesn't His cane promise comfort to sheep in distress?
My prayer to bless a marine in the Wounded Warrior Battalion had ricocheted bringing a cease-fire to my own emotional battlefield. Indeed I would return home with the greater blessing. Arriving home my first act of duty would be to seek and find my faithful, yet forgotten walking stick to reassign it to a much deserved place of honor in my heart and home.
What about you? Is there an object or experience in your life that you can surrender to the Good Shepherd's healing touch? He's on duty 24/7 eager to respond to your SOS, "Shepherd, I need You now."