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Not too long ago a dear friend of mine from college lost her brother. I can’t begin to imagine the grief she and the rest of her family must be feeling right now. My own brother is so very dear to me. She must be feeling such a sense of loss right now. This brother of hers was serving his country over seas. He was fighting for a controversial cause that has this nation torn in two. Just the same, I’m proud that he was over there, doing what he felt called to do.

The Bible says that only God knows the number of our days (Psalm 139:16). With my husband in the military, I have to hold on to this truth. I have to trust that even in the midst of evil, God holds the future of my husband and myself in his hands.

But I’m sure it doesn’t make the pain and loss any easier for this family, nor would it for me.

As I was looking through pictures people are posting of this departed brother, I smiled at all the funny ones, teared up at the more sentimental ones, but was struck most of all by one simple picture. On this man’s back was a tattoo of Psalm 91. The very Psalm that has spoken to me and so many of my military friends. Here’s what this wonderful Psalm says,

1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

2 I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust."

3 Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare
and from the deadly pestilence.

4 He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

5 You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,

6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.

7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.

8 You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.

9 If you make the Most High your dwelling—
even the LORD, who is my refuge-

10 then no harm will befall you,
no disaster will come near your tent.

11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;

12 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

13 You will tread upon the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

14 "Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.

15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.

16 With long life will I satisfy him
and show him my salvation (NIV).

This world is a scary place. Throughout our lives there will be many things we face that seem impossible. But God is there. Just as I have to trust that he was there with my friend’s brother on that fateful day. He did not fail to protect him, but decided to take him home, to heaven, in that moment. No, I don’t understand why, I probably never will, but I do know that He grants eternal life to all those who believe. So this Psalm rings true, even for those He decides to take home.

This hasn’t been an easy post to write. Please don’t think I have all the answers, because I don’t. I’m only a girl, serving my Savior, and trying to make some sort of sense of this crazy life. At times, all I can really do is pray for those in pain, that God will meet them where they are.

A final note to my friend: I’ll leave you anonymous for the privacy of you and your family, but please know I’m praying for you today. Please know that my heart reaches out to you during this tough season, and that, through it all, God is still God, ready and waiting to carry you.