United States Army Sergeant Marlene Dowling had been injured while transporting American soldiers and Iraqi civilians to a Field Hospital. Just a half a mile short of the American installation a roadside bomb exploded killing a number of her passengers both American and Iraqi. Conscientious Sergeant Dowling lay helpless until Iraqi citizens placed her, members of team and Iraqi citizens on make shift stretchers until another military vehicle arrived. In excruciating pain, Sergeant Dowling prayed that Jesus would watch over her and everyone involved in the bombing. Though many voices shouted in agony or fear, Sergeant Dowling remained calm until she was brought into a pre-op room. Unable to see, she could feel her clothing being cut away or taken off. Every touch, every move the nurse made on her person was painful. Just as painful was being without clothing and not know what was happening to her.
As Sergeant Dowling’s heart began racing and fear mounting, a woman with an American Hispanic accent took hold of her blacken stained hand. “Sergeant, my name is Lieutenant Elena Magallanes,” she said. “I’m here to be with you. Whatever you want just let me know. I will try to be very careful. I know you’re in a lot of pain. I received permission from the doctor to cover you with this surgical sheet so you won’t have to be here with nothing on you. I can see you’re embarrassed and nervous.” Sergeant Dowling could hear the gentleness in Lieutenant Magallanes’ voice and see the stream of tears from her eyes.
Then Lieutenant Magallanes very carefully explained to Sergeant Dowling what to expect when she would be wheeled into the operating room, what her injuries were and what would happen. She also explained she would be experiencing a long operation due to her injuries but as soon as she woke up she would tell her where she was, what time and day of the week. Lieutenant Magallanes informed Sergeant Dowling that because she was quickly going into surgery that she would not lost her legs and would be more than likely able to walk again in time.
Sergeant Dowling’s hand was in Lieutenant Magallanes’ when she went under the anesthetic and when she was coming out of it. “Sergeant Dowling, it is I! Lieutenant Magallanes!” As Sergeant Dowling eyes came into focus, Lieutenant Magallanes removed strands of brown hair away from the Sergeant’s face.
“Your operation was a complete success! Until we ship you back home, I’ll be here for you. Whatever you need, just push this button right here. I’ll be here as quickly as I can. I asked for a received permission from my commander to assist you in any way,” responded the Lieutenant.
“Ma’am, I can’t tell you what a comfort you’ve been to me. And thanks be to God! I’ve been blessed by an angel in you, ma’am! I’ll never forget you! Ever!”
“I’m just so glad you are okay! We did experience some difficulties we did not expect. You had some metal in your left leg that had to be carefully removed. You also had metal lodged in a highly sensitive area of your back that could have caused paralysis. The surgical team got it! And you will heal nicely as I said.”
Jesus promised that He would be with us throughout this life no matter the trials and tribulations. Though Sergeant Dowling fully recovered from her injuries, many do not. Many service personnel do not fully recover from injurious events. This does not mean they did something wrong and God is punishing them, abandoned them or does not exist because nothing seems to be done in a positive manner. Rather, it is the glory of God made manifest most cannot often understand. Perhaps God has a new job for these said persons that can only be revealed in a human comforter, a painful experience or a loss of some kind.
Regardless, when a challenge or challenges arise, feelings of fear and insecurity about anything presents itself, one can always turn within to hear a gentle voice saying, “My name is Jesus. I’m here with you every step of the way. You can depend on me. I’ll never, ever abandon you. Others might, but I won’t! You can count on that!”