"Love has brought a great many people to safety when competency was exhausted," Garrison Keillor said.

People can do many things for others in an attempt to help. They have the strength and ability.

This past week, news media companies ran a video of a soldier who risked his life by running through a harsh firefight to save the life of a young child. It was an act of bravery and love.

Then there are times when even the best efforts are not enough to bring about what is desired. Think about first responders at a serious vehicle accident. Despite their heroic efforts, a person's body is too badly damaged for their life to be saved. It's an act of bravery and love, but nothing could be done.

Think of a young child who has fallen and skinned a knee. Mom or Dad can do little other than clean the injury and put a Band-Aid on it. But what more is the child seeking? Comfort, an assurance that everything will be okay.

That is where love and compassion bring about the kind of healing that physical competency cannot. Yes, physical healing of pain is greatly sought. But even more so is the assurance that all will be okay. Being able to convey the message of comfort and hope is an act of love.

Love is a gift that is given to us from God. It is God's love that sees us through challenging times. When God's presence is acknowledged, we know all will be well.

That love often is expressed through other people. Whether through acts of bravery, acts of competency, or acts of compassion, it is God's love that is being expressed. Because of our experience of God's love, we can then share that love with another.

We are given the privilege of working with God in innumerable situations and circumstances. We can do many things. But relying on our own strength will eventually run us dry. Simply attempting physical feats will oftentimes not be enough — or even the correct approach to take.

Providing comfort, assurance and reassurance is always part of the healing process whether in body, mind or spirit. It is always a gift when it is offered.

At the root of all we do to help others is love. When you acknowledge this, you will accomplish great things.

As the apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13:3, 7: "If I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing … Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."

 

The Rev. Mark Broadhead is pastor at Laurel Hill Presbyterian Church and First Presbyterian Church of Crestview.