July 18, 2010

Testimony of A Man Part 7

I had just gotten married and was almost done with Seminary when the Marine Corps called me up and asked I f I would come back into active duty for a year and help lead a group of men over into Iraq. 
I had a two month old at home and my wife and I were preparing for our one-year anniversary. 

Needless to say, I did not jump at the "opportunity".  My wife was not enthusiastic about it, and her family was less enthusiastic about it.  I had sworn that I would never return to the military because I wanted to do different things with my life.

God began to show me that I wasn't really in control. 

It began as a little spark and eventually beacme a fire within me.  God began to reveal to me this idea of being an Image Bearer wherever He had planted me.  He had led me down a path in life that gave me training and disciplines that were needed in Fallujah Iraq.  He had also given me the opportunity to learn the spiritual disciplines that our young Marines needed while in Iraq.  I was given a vision to be an Image Bearing leader for men who would literally be warriors in a land that hated the Christian God.

I left for special training on my one-year anniversary.  This part of the testimony is as much to the grace God gave through and in my wife during the next year as it is about His work in mine. 

How is one an Image Bearer in war?  Well, I didn't know, but I did everything I could to show my men respect for themselves, each other, their wives left behind, and the dignity of other human beings - even if they were considered "enemies".  It was not always a popular message, but they got it and it made us a stronger family. 

The interesting thing is that God laid a call on my heart to be an Image Bearer to the Iraqis as well.  There is a big difference between taking a prisoner in the mindset as a superior combatant, and taking a prisoner in the mindset as one who is forcefully, yet respectfully honoring the reality of the situation and the dignity of the human being as well.  There is a big difference in responding to an explosion and murder with hatred and vengeance, and responding with controlled discipline acknowledging the sovereignty and immanence of God.

That year away from home was life changing for me, and it was the questions of my men during that year that led me to the realization that our world needs Image Bearers who are consciously living as Image Bearers in their world.  God cares about everything we do, and no matter what, we can accomplish any task God sets before us to His glory.  Where we are as Image Bearers in Christ, He is present and guiding us. 

If you are in the military, I call to you to remember who you are in Christ and that you can Bear His Image in whatever you do.  I am praying for you.
God bless and thank you for what you do.

With you for His Glory

1 comment:

Jennifer @ Getting Down With Jesus said...

Yes! To be an Image Bearer to all. Beautiful!

Found you through your wife today. I've become acquainted with her through the High Calling Blogs network.

God bless you as you minister in the places where He leads.