United States Army Major Rick Allen raced through the field hospital to get to a soldier who had become a victim of a roadside bombing while on patrol in Iraq. Arriving by the wounded soldier’s side, Major Allen witnessed a man covered from head to toe in bandages. The soldier whose hand he shook only five hours ago looked so large with the exposed portion of his face so disfigured it did not look like the same man.
Major Allen spent a few minutes talking with the doctor and nurse then offered to stay by the soldier’s side while they attended to the needs of other injured or wounded warriors. He knew they had dozens of patients needing attending to with a staff nearly overwhelmed by those in the hospital.
Major Allen pulled a chair close to the soldier’s bed. The young soldier opened the unbandaged eye wide, looked at the Major though unable to speak. Major Allen spoke to him to ask how he was doing. The soldier never responded but he seemed to be in a great deal of pain.
“Lord,” Major Allen prayed, “Give me the words that will help comfort and heal this soldier of his wounds. Also, Lord, forgive him of any sin he may have committed.”
Fearful he might cause the soldier pain, Major Allen placed his hand on the bed then prayed out loud: “The Lord is your shepherd, you will not want…”
By the end of the psalm, the soldier seemed to be in less pain and relaxed. When the nurse returned to check the soldier’s chart and him, she noticed how calm he was. Checking his vital signs, the nurse reported that he was resting. She also indicated that he was more relaxed than he had been since being admitted to the hospital.
“What did you do Major?” asked the nurse.
“Nothing. I didn’t know what to do so I recited the 23rd Psalm before him just a moment ago before your return.”
“That’s interesting, Major,” responded the nurse. “Major, according to this soldier’s dog tags, this soldier is a Roman Catholic. We found on him a laminated copy of the 23rd psalm in his wallet and in his cargo pocket of his uniform. So I’m guessing that this psalm might be his favorite Biblical verse. Did you know that Major?”
“Well, no nurse, but God sure did. God, though, works in mysterious ways and the results are always the best!”