You see them more and more. The “emotional support animal” is often a dog but can really be any animal. They are allowed anywhere the public is but only with a doctor’s prescription. They differ from service animals as there is no special training to do any work or task. All that is required is that the animal provide a calming effect for the owner suffering from mental, emotional or psychiatric disabilities. Their very presence is meant to bring comfort.
The truth of today’s verse brings a comfort far greater than any animal can give. God Himself is our refuge and strength. Regardless of the trouble faced, He is there to help. His very presence is the source of protection, strength and comfort. Realizing His presence keeps us from giving in to fear. He is bigger and more powerful than any challenge.
When tragedy strikes someone close, I often do not know what to say. But it is not what we say that brings comfort but the fact that we show up. Our presence is what counts. The person in crisis draws strength just from us being there. How much more true is this principle with God’s presence. Burrowing my head in an animal’s fur can only console me so much. Crying on the shoulder of a friend or family member is important but does not go deep enough. But when it is my Heavenly Father there, He can and does touch my soul with His loving presence. He reassures me of His love and control. He gives me hope.
Thank you Lord, that when troubles loom large, You are there.