My son came home from the war, a bit broken, but with a strong faith in Christ

After the violent attacks in 2001, my thirty year old son became so angry against the brutality of terrorism, that he joined the Army to help fight for his country. When he joined he was beginning his study in the ministry, and he was becoming the spiritually strong man that I knew he would be as we raised him to be. Although we were proud of his principles and his strength to stand for what he believed, we were scared to death that he would see the horrors of war and become confused in his spirit that had been groomed since his childhood to be a man of God. As he enlisted, we held many long night discussions with him, trying to help him sort out his obligations to his country, vs. his obligations to his Savior Jesus Christ. It was a trying time for all of us, and he resolved the conflict by obtaining a job with the Chaplain’s service in the Army.

Following basic and tech school, he was snatched up by the Rangers, and went through serious and exhaustive training to become one of the elite special force members. He was the first enlisted chaplain Ranger, and we kept receiving glowing reports of his progress, and his wonderful witness among the troops about his Lord. Then the horrors of war entered solidly into our lives, and we watched for months as it unfolded over our TV. Because of his elite status, and the subversive type of work that the Rangers do, we were not allowed to know where he was. We were not allowed to write letters, or talk with him on the phone, or get a hold of him in anyway, to offer encouragement and support for his efforts.

We struggled often to hold our fears together as we imagined our boy seeing the horrors of war, and being unable to resolve his needs to defend against his needs to love. We prayed fervently and constantly, yet we were so very scared, that one night we cried in each others arms because of our fear. We feared not of his loss of his natural life, as much as his loss of spiritual life, and we had no way of knowing if he was going to be okay, and continue in the path of service to Jesus.

One day, a Newsweek magazine came to our home. We were looking at the pictures of war inside it, when one of the pictures touched us so deeply, we shook with emotion. A small picture, at the top of the page, showed a group of soldiers gathered around a sandbagged font of water, many with shirts off in the middle of the desert. And there, in the midst of all of them, surrounded with hope and the love of Jesus on there faces, stood an image of our son as he participated in the baptism of the soldiers before they went into the hot zones of war.

As a Christian, you can imagine how joyous we were when our prayer to God was answered with the reassurance that our son was doing His work in spite of the chaos and violence. That picture provided enough strength to us to allow us to wait seven more months before we could speak to him. We learned later that they had parachuted into that area for just one day, and couldn’t quite understand at the time why, and had no idea that his picture was even taken. He took that opportunity to assist in the worship service and help with the baptisms. The picture of that precious service hangs on our wall today.

Five tours of duty in war later, my son finally came home. He brings with him the pains and sufferings of many of our young men and women who have sacrificed their very lives for the principles of freedom and duty. Most importantly, he tells of the glorious witnesses of Christ moving among the soldiers in comfort amidst the bloody desert sands, when the things of spirit take precedence over the things of nature.

Thanks be to the LORD God, my son has come home a man changed with the pains of war, but solidly intact in spirit, still able to walk his steady walk in faith toward his precious Savior and King. What a blessing we have received!