Military chaplain Laura Bender knows not all combat injuries are visible. The Marines she cares for often suffer from wounded souls.
“They wonder if they’re still acceptable to God or the church after fighting in combat,” says Commander Bender. “They ask, ‘Am I still loved by God? Am I welcome in church? People call me a hero, but am I really? Does God still hear my prayers?’ ”
To respond to such a crisis in faith, Bender has found a crucial resource in The Upper Room.
The daily devotional, she says, “not only provides the Marines with daily reflection and prayer, but also a way for them to know that their church still remembers them and cares about them. By reading The Upper Room, they can take one day at a time to remember their faith and take comfort in God’s love.”
As chaplain for the Marine Corps Wounded Warriors Regiment, in Quantico, Va., Bender also finds the devotional to be an invaluable tool in her own spiritual life. She reads it every day in the parking lot before heading into her office. “It helps me focus on God and inspires me before I start my day,” she says.
Many times, the devotional contains exactly what she needs. Recently, she recalls, the daily reading dealt with how faith helps in the acceptance of sudden changes. “When I got to work,” Bender says, “I was able to draw from that reading and help a Marine who had lost a leg and had to suddenly switch directions in his life.”
Because of generous donors, The Upper Room’s Chaplains’ Ministry provides 45,000 free copies of each issue of the daily devotional guide to Bender and other chaplains serving U.S. military personnel and prison inmates. We simply cannot sustain this ministry without gifts from caring individuals like you.