Perhaps it would be the most beneficial to start this article by saying that Grace does indeed abound to those who know Christ Jesus as their Lord and Savior! John Bunyan probably said it best in the title of his book, "Grace Abounds to the Chief of Sinners." If there were a volume control on this newsletter I would turn it full up so that this could be heard as if it were being shouted from the rooftops! Why? Because those who are least likely to hear it are those who are discouraged and suffering. There is no sin Jesus cannot forgive. There is no heart He cannot salve. Take heart, Jesus is Hope everlasting!
Marriage has always been one of the chief casualties of military service. In times of war the stresses on this God-ordained institution can only be compounded. Anxiety mounts both for the loved one, who is afar off, and for those who have remained behind. Then when the warrior returns home from the battle it is soon discovered that they are not the same person that left in answer to the call of country.
One of the unfortunate facts of war is that the effects of mortal combat do not stop when the warrior leaves the battle field. We may never fully realize how war forever changes the heart of those who have blood on their hands. Nor will we know the pains inflicted deep by the many terrors endured. The surety is that one does not take another human life and remain unaffected. God denied King David his wish to build the temple because of his warrior past.
Some will heal better than others. Some will be forever broken! A young woman, speaking of her fiancé who is on his third Iraq deployment, said, “He grows colder and angrier with each tour.” The Battalion Commander said, “You’ve got to make sure to not let the guys go home without their humanity.”
Military medical officials said, “30% of troops returning from the Iraq war have developed stress-related mental health problems 3 to 4 months after coming home” presenting with “anxiety, depression, nightmares, anger, and an inability to concentrate.” The headline in the Denver Post read, “Iraq veteran convicted of killing wife.” An entire family destroyed in a moment. Why? Anger!
The divorce rate in the military continues to climb year after year. This is despite a multitude of support programs that were established to help stem the tide: The new Deployment Cycle Support Program; A family support group system; The Building Strong and Ready Families Program; The Strong Bonds marriage education program; and The Pick a Partner program. Not to mention the heroic efforts of the frontline chaplain! Why? Anger!
I once had a close encounter of the third kind! Yes, your heard me, I met an alien! Where? Right in my own bathroom. I was endeavoring to replace the rusting sink and squealing faucet in our bathroom. As part of the process I had to disconnect the drain trap. When I did I was suddenly hit with an all encompassing odor, a most awful smell that mere words could not adequately describe. It was definitely a close encounter of the first kind.
I pressed on with the removal and then started the installation. I carefully placed the new sink in the vanity and marked its location after it was properly centered in the opening. I then applied the silicone sealer and meticulously placed the sink back into place. After I installed the new faucet and connected the plumbing I felt pleased that the job was accomplished. When I went to get up off the floor I thoughtlessly grabbed (you guessed it) the sink and pulled it off center smearing the uncured white sealant across the vanity. It was a close encounter of the second kind.
My favorite cartoon, from my Navy days, was a picture of an old Boatswains Mate (Bos'ns Mate) whose left sleeve betrayed him as long on service and short on rank. There was an anvil, a large hammer, and his thumb with marks that showed it to be radiating with much pain. The caption read: “Goodness, I've struck my thumb!”
When I had seen the mess I had made, I had answered in the flesh—”Goodness, I've struck my thumb!” This was the close encounter of the third kind! Who was this alien and where did those words come from? Then it hit me! The smell I had experienced was like rotten flesh. After a quarter of a century of walking with the Lord, my flesh still smells of death. Perhaps the only difference is that I am heavier and much more fermented. The upside is that I saw once again that Grace is really big—all sufficient for my every need! In the flesh there is no hope. In the spirit there is every hope.
“I know I am rotten through and through so far as my old sinful nature is concerned...It seems to be a fact of life that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong….Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord….So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. For the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you through Christ Jesus from the power of sin that leads to death” (Romans 7:18,21,24-25,8:1-2 NLT).
According to the American Psychological Association, “Anger is a natural, adaptive response to threats; it inspires powerful, often aggressive, feelings and behaviors, which allow us to fight and to defend ourselves when we are attacked.” The problem is the warrior may bring this anger home with him even though the threat is no longer present! Warrior to warrior let me say this: This kind of anger can only be quenched on Jesus’ breast! The most profound prayer I have ever prayed was, “Jesus help me!” For more information about anger and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder visit: The American Psychological Association website at http://www.apa.org/topics/anger/control.aspx and the National Center for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder at http://www.ptsd.va.gov/
Chris Adsit, Military Ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ, has created some great helps!. The Combat Trauma Healing Manual, and (with Rahnella Adsit and Marshéle Carter Waddell) When War Comes Home: Christ-centered Healing for Wives of Combat Veterans.
Why is Daddy always so angry? Because he has been deeply traumatized in the center of his soul and anger is the way that it leaks out!