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Deep Despair

Briefing: I have a friend at work who everyone, including himself, calls him Eeyore (you may have to google it if you were born after 1980). This guy embraces the characterization and even puts Eeyore pictures on his locker.

Dispatch (Assignment): Read Psalm 88.

On the Street: When I first started reading this psalm, I thought it sounded like David. When I got to the end, I was surprised how the psalm ended. David normally ends his psalms with a turning to God and a joyful praise for the wonderful things God has done for him. This psalm ended the same sad way it started. I went back to see who wrote it and found it was not David.

David had a characteristic in his DNA that always brought him back to God. Unfortunately, not all of us come full circle when we get stepped on or hurt. If we could all be more like David and realize that God is still God, and He loves us, we would all be much further along in our Christian maturity. Sadly, most of us easily forget and lose focus on God when we are faced with hardships.

This psalm is a good exercise for Christian law enforcement officers. In our career, we will always encounter people who are in distress. We will answer calls where we find people in desperate need of help. Most of the people we come into contact with, while on the job, are not having a good day, otherwise, they would not be calling us. If you are not careful, this constant attitude will begin to rub off on you. There are some calls you answer that show the ugly side of humanity, the beatings, abuses, killings, and utter depravity of man. These too can affect your mental outlook. And lastly, there are the fatal accidents, the suicides, and natural disaster calls that will get to you as well. Add it all together and it sounds like a miserable mess.

Now let’s add the personal messes we make for ourselves. The divorce rate for law enforcement officers fluctuates between 75-85 percent. Normally, when a peace officer is divorced, they have also lost their children to their ex. They complain about this all the time. With divorce and child support come financial troubles. Usually, the divorced officer works way too much overtime, so add the fact they are tired and have no time for themselves on top of all the other troubles.

What do you do when you come across an officer who, like the writer of Psalm 88, has fallen into the hole of despair? They usually act defeated and hopeless. “I am counted among those who go down to the pit; I am like a man without strength.” How do you minister to them?

I have found that someone who is broken does not need much convincing. If you can get them to the point of agreeing they are broken, it is easier to show them they need to be fixed. Verse 3 says, “For my soul is full of trouble and my life draws near the grave.” It is like someone who is sick and needs the cure. If they are sick and want to get better they will gladly and gratefully accept the cure. First, they must understand they are sick. If you cannot bring them to this understanding it will be hard to force a cure on them.

What if you were about to die from cancer and I told you there was a cure. All you needed was a shot of the miracle cure. Would you want the shot? The only problem is the cure costs 1 billion US dollars and they only take cash. How would that make you feel? Now imagine that someone knew about your condition and paid the price for your dose of the miracle cure. That was Jesus, obviously, and He is the only cure for the human condition.

“May my prayer come before you; turn your ear to my cry.” When we cry out to God, He will hear us. This is how someone gets healed. They will still have troubles in this world and the depressing calls will not stop coming, but they will have hope and joy in Jesus and the salvation He provides. There can be a peace they have never known and a new attitude found in the assurance of God’s love for us. These seem to be the blessings that kept David turning to God when life got rotten.

Jesus tells us, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30.

Investigational Resources: John 16:16-33.

Officer Safety Principle: Look to God in your own life and point to Him for your fellow officers to see. They need to be reminded of a God who loves them enough to die for them.

from Psalms Through the Eyes of a Cop, Volume 2
©by Charles Gilliland. Used by permission.
Click here to check out the entire Through the Eyes of a Cop series!