I sat in on a conversation today that made me really angry at my government. The conversation was about the permanent harm that came to someone who served our nation. He was called up by the military and sent away to war.

Now he needs our nation to come to his aid. But we seem to want to distance ourselves from him. I can only guess why that is the case. Perhaps it is money; it costs lots of money to take care of someone in his predicament. A much more cynical view might be that the government never cared for him; he was just a cog in a military wheel.

This should be the deal we give anyone who serves at time of war. “If you go away to serve your country, and you get hurt, we’ll take care of you. No matter what it costs to do so.” A country that does that would be demonstrating it is possible for a nation to have compassion.

As I listened in on the conversation I got to thinking about Samuel. Samuel told God that the people wanted a king–in other words, a government. God warned that a king would tax them, conscript them for military service, and spend all the money on himself.

Human govenment has pretty severe limitations. It can’t have compassion. It can’t know the people. It can’t be submissive and kind. It can’t be fair. The truth of this is certainly seen in the way the individual mentioned above was treated on his return to this country.

The soldier’s caregivers care every day for wounds of indifference. I wish it were different. I wish there were a line of government officials outside his door saying, “How can we help you?”