top of page

“Operation Hope & The War Against Discouragement”

(A Devotional For First Responders)

If heavy is the head that wears the crown then heavy is the heart that wears the badge. If he that increases in knowledge increases in sorrow ( Ecclesiastes 1:18) then no doubt the heart of a first responder can be overcome with grief from what they’ve seen. Kevlar may protect the vitals but what protects the soul? What protects the mind? We know of physical armaments but what about spiritual armaments (Romans 13:11-14, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, Ephesians 6:10-18)?

Those faced with life and death situations are often haunted by death more than life. Winston Churchill was haunted by, as he called it, the “black dog” of depression. Here a man who helped lead the Allied Powers to victory also faught a war on a different front, the war against discouragement. Not only did Churchill wrestle with seasons of hopelessness in this life he had no hope for the next life. How sad that a man who cast such a ray of hope over Britain and the world during WWII, left this world with absolutely no hope. Even the planning of his funeral was given the code name “Operation Hope-Not”. His life is a reminder that even the bravest among us are in need of hope and most importantly eternal hope.

An open valve of discouragement and anxiety can cripple the strongest among us and leave them wasting away in the shadowlands. But must it be this way? Must the fate of warriors be the same as Churchill’s? To die hopeless and bored? Is there indeed no hope for those who stand between the living and the dead? Is the heart and mind of those who serve destined to be casualties of war? Must their sorrow be like the sound of the siren that led sailors to their doom? Must the oceans deep become the sailors tomb? Is there no hope of light for those who fight the darkness? Must the ode to Valhalla sound sweeter than the call from Heaven? Can you feed the hungry and still follow the bread crumbs back home? Can you heal the leper without becoming the leper?

Be encouraged, there is hope. The same God who created something from nothing also divided the light from the darkness. Christ told His disciples that though they were in the world they were not of the world. Leonard Ravenhill once said “The greatest miracle that God can do today is to take an unholy man out of an unholy world and make him holy, then put him back into that unholy world and keep him holy in it.” The same thing Christ did for the Apostles He can and will do for any believer. Even the believers who are first responders.

God never meant for any job or calling to consume any of His children and it doesn’t have to. Through Christ it is possible to live in the world and not be consumed by the world. It is possible to hold the line without crossing the line into despair. It is possible to storm the gates of hell without being consumed by hell and here is how.

King David wrote an interesting line in his song to the Lord.

“Blessed be the LORD my strength, Which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight: My goodness, and my fortress; My high tower, and my deliverer; My shield, and he in whom I trust; Who subdueth my people under me.” Psalm‬ ‭144:1-2‬ ‭

King David was a fighter and a scrapper, but his faith was anchored in the Lord not his hands. He knew it was God who gave him the ability to fight and not that of himself. Though skilled with a rod and a staff, and a sling and a stone, those same hands that could wield a sword could also fold to pray. With the same mouth that mocked and defied Goliath and all the enemies of Israel he also praised and glorified The King of Kings. Can you see a pattern here? The same David who played the mad man and troubled the King of Gath , also could sing and dance before the Lord. He not only was a man of action but was also a man of prayer, and a man of worship. He sought the Lord even in his youth and his days of studying sheep and wolves prepared him to lead armies and to conquer his enemies. The Lord prepared him in solitude to face victories and defeats. In regards to his escape from the King of Gath he wrote:

“This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, And saved him out of all his troubles.”

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭34:6‬ ‭

David was no doubt a mighty warrior and a noble leader among men, but yet the most ruthless adversary he would ever face would be the Goliath that encamped within in his own heart. It’s not the circumstances that we face that beckons us to retreat into the darkness, it’s the entanglements of our own hearts that can cause us to fall. The head that wore the crown had a heavy heart at times but in his prayers you find a man who was willing to beat his own heart into submission and to keep his mind stayed on the living God. Though David battled discouragement, lust, and soul piercing agony, He was still the man who sought after God’s own heart. He sought the Lord diligently and disciplined himself to submit unto the Word of the Lord so that he may dwell in the House of the Lord forever. As he played his harp he sang:

“O God, thou art My God; early will I seek thee: My soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee In a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;”

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭63:1‬

“When I remember thee upon my bed, And meditate on thee in the night watches. Because thou hast been my help, Therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice. My soul followeth hard after thee: Thy right hand upholdeth me.”

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭63:6-8‬ ‭

This Warrior King was a man of repentance and of great humility. When he sinned before God he broke before God and cried out for mercy and God answered. If your heart seems heavy right now find comfort in this, that when our own hearts condemn us, God is greater than our hearts and He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins if we confess our sins just as David did (Psalms 51, 1 John 1:9,

1 John 3:20)

David, the Warrior Poet, Prophet, and King still knew that he, like those of whom the Lord had entrusted into his care, was still in need of God’s goodness and mercy. He rejoiced in the presence of God and cried out to Him when God seemed distant. Even as a King he had a holy desperation for God that burned inside of him until the day he died.

Though he could have hardened his heart as Saul did he remained humble before the Lord, despite the heaviness of the crown he labored in God’s Word.

“Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to thy word. With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, That I might not sin against thee. Blessed art thou, O LORD: Teach me thy statutes. With my lips have I declared All the judgments of thy mouth. I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, As much as in all riches. I will meditate in thy precepts, And have respect unto thy ways. I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word. Deal bountifully with thy servant, That I may live, and keep thy word. Open thou mine eyes, That I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.”

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭119:9-18‬ ‭

Though David’s body was scarred and hardened by war, his heart was tender towards God. He knew to be uncorrupted by the world he must commune with the Incorruptible. You must make time to fellowship with God, and to let Him feed your soul. You must take the time, like David did, to worship Him and learn of Him even in the midst of war and even in the valley of the shadow of death. Christ promises to give rest to those that not only come to Him, but to those who continue on with in Him.

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭11:28-30‬ ‭

“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”

‭‭John‬ ‭15:5‬ ‭

So how do you protect the mind and overcome the “black dog” of depression as Churchill put it? How do you feed the hungry without spiritually starving yourself? How do you heal the lepers, without becoming one of the lepers? Do as David did. Put your faith and trust in the all powerful and sovereign Christ. Walk in prayer and seek Him daily. Let God be your first thought among many throughout the day and even as you lay your head on your pillow at the close of the day, think on Him, talk to Him. Fill your mind with the Word of God. Either by reading or listening. Saturate yourself in the Holy things of God and He will sustain you through any trouble and trial you may face. Remember If God can separate the darkness from the light, just imagine what He can do with those on the front lines. There is not one single place on earth to where God cannot go and wherever He goes there is hope.

God bless & stay safe,


“Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: If I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, And thy right hand shall hold me.”

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭139:7-10‬ ‭

“Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful (anxious) for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.” Philippians‬ ‭4:4-9‬ ‭

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;”. Ephesians‬ ‭6:10-18‬ ‭

18 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

The following questions and answers are from the “Baptist Catechism of 1677” also known as “Keachs Catechism”. The word “catechism” simply means “teaching”. The three questions posed are in regards to

Speaking the truth in love doesn’t mean that you will never offend and it isn’t a reference in regard to one’s “tone”.  It is a reference to one’s heart. The verses before and after Ephesians 4:5 prov

bottom of page