We were all lined up for a celebration review for the new military post commander. There were thousands of soldiers like me at the event on the parade ground of the army base. Military vehicles, ceremonial flags, even a military band passed in front of us.
It wasn’t yet summer, but the day was hot and humid. Despite the high temperature, we were still wearing our warm “winter” uniforms.
When the commanding general appeared, we all saluted him. But as the parade progressed, a number of the soldiers in my unit fainted in the heat. My immediate thought was that I sure didn’t want to faint and fall to the ground, nor did I want to see anyone else succumb to the heat. So, as I stood at attention, I prayed, turning my thought to God. These verses from a hymn in the Christian Science Hymnal came to me, and proved to be just the help I needed.
God is my strong salvation;
What foe have I to fear?
In darkness and temptation,
My light, my help is near:
Though hosts encamp around me,
Firm in the fight I stand;
What terror can confound me,
With God at my right hand?
Place on the Lord reliance;
My heart, with courage wait;
His truth be thine affiance,
When faint and desolate:
His might thy heart shall strengthen,
His love thy joy increase;
Thy day shall mercy lengthen:
The Lord will give thee peace.
(James Montgomery, No. 77)
The words “with God at my right hand” were especially meaningful to me. In a hand salute, your right hand is next to your face with the tip of your forefinger touching your forehead just above the eyebrow of the right eye.
As I stood saluting, my right hand in that position, it was such a clear example to me of how close God is to us. I saw that God, divine Love, could not have been any closer to me, to each one of us, than He was right at that very moment—at our “right hand.” “God is love,” the Bible tells us (I John 4:8), and none of us can ever be separated from divine Love as its reflection. This all-powerful Love is always present, caring for and upholding us. This was such an inspiring, divine thought.
Immediately, I felt refreshed and confident that all of us could stand upright for the entire parade event without any concern that we would faint in the heat. I could feel God’s love and support and knew it could be felt by everyone. I was aware of the fact that there were no further incidences of fainting in my unit.
God is where each one of His children is. He is with you and me right here, right now—always at hand.