From where does my help come?

  • Published
  • By Chaplain (Lt Col.) Michael Williams
  • 22nd Air Refueling Wing chaplain
A couple days after our McConnell Air Force Base Memorial Service for Col. Michael V. Krueger, 22nd Air Refueling Wing former vice commander, I was finally able to sleep in a little and catch a few hours of down time. The spiritual care demands of the previous 10 days or so were beginning to take their toll. My beloved wife of 32 years, Becky, had prepared the coffee maker the evening prior. This is true love. So when I wandered out into the kitchen in the morning to let out my dog Samwise, all I had to do was flip the switch to "On," select one of my favorite cups from my fairly expansive collection and wait about 10 minutes. I proceeded to my favorite chair in the living room - an old oak glider with a mauve cover - while the coffee maker began the gurgling and popping of its noisy brew cycle. As I sat there rocking and thinking of Becky taking the time to prepare the coffee maker for me, a new wave of affection for her came over me and I counted myself a very blessed man. Thus proving again what I always tell young married Airmen, that on-going feelings of affection in a marriage relationship are the fruit of your beloved's unselfish acts of making coffee. I do try to reciprocate by emptying the dish washer and feeding that cat from time to time.

As I began inhaling the wonderful aroma of my favorite French blend, my mind drifted toward taking inventory of my personal status - physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Physically, I was worn out. I knew that in order to maintain my effectiveness in my role as Wing Chaplain, I needed to get some rest. For me that meant getting some distance from the work of ministry for a day or two, time with my wife, time with my kids, a little recreation and some sleep. Mentally, I was still processing the many events of the past week, beginning with our Command Chaplain's visit, the National Prayer Breakfast and on through to the present moment. It was a lot to take in, and I hoped my contributions as a spiritual leader had ministered God's grace to those who needed comfort and encouragement. Emotionally, I was still making my way through my own grief. Spiritually, although I have felt the Lord's nearness many times in my life I felt a special closeness to Him on that particular morning.

Sam was barking at the door, so I interrupted my inventory long enough to let him in, to dish out his breakfast and to fill my cup. That first cup of coffee in the morning, especially when it's not rushed, is a wonderful thing. When I returned to my chair I was overcome with a desire to give thanks to God for Mike Krueger, for God's calling in my life - the calling that brought me to McConnell as a chaplain, the calling that allowed me the profound privilege of being a part of the sacredness of sharing in the grief of Colonel Krueger's very precious family and friends; for the gift of being counted as a member of such a distinguished and honorable Air Force community of men, women and young people of great passion and of great character.

A verse from a Psalm came to mind, and I couldn't remember the Psalm number off the top of my head, "My eyes look to the hills"... Was it Psalm 103? No, that's "Bless the Lord O my soul and all that is within me." So I picked up my study Bible and flipped to the reference section in the back to look up the key word - "hills." There it was! Psalm 121.
"I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
maker of heaven and earth."

I felt an overwhelming comfort wash over me. "My help comes from the Lord."
The truth is I didn't feel exhausted that morning. I felt tired, but not exhausted. I felt consoled and not hopeless at all. I believe the Spirit of the Lord God was with me, right there in my living room as I rocked in my glider and sipped my first cup of coffee of the morning and spoke out loud the opening words of Psalms 121. I was struggling to imagine life without Colonel Krueger and his wonderful, smiling, encouraging presence... and within the depths of my soul, I felt God's peace.