by Captain Bill Weimer, United States Navy, Retired
Military men and women are well acquainted with Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders that transfer them from one duty station to another across the globe.
And as they will attest to, sponsors are crucial for such reassignments, those advocates welcoming them as they report to a new command by introducing them to command leaders and personnel, and befriending and making them feel at home.
But what about the day when we transfer out of this world to that actual permanent change of station ahead on the horizon for every one of us when we die? Many are confused about the afterlife and have countless questions. Is there existence beyond the grave? Is there a heaven, hell, some other place or state of being? Or do we just cease to exist?
We never think it will happen to us, but the reality is that each of us will someday receive our final PCS orders to stand before the Lord. Do you have a spiritual sponsor for that coming day? Jesus Christ offers to be your spiritual sponsor now to help you through all those military moves, every moment of your life, and whenever your eternal PCS orders arrive.
As Stephen was being stoned as the Church’s first martyr, he “looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God” (Acts 7:55).
Jesus’ promise to His distressed disciples the night before He was crucified is rock solid to us as well 2,000 years later, “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:2-3).
This Savior and Lord—our “sponsor” in this life and as we PCS into the next—will one day stand to welcome and greet us at death before the Commander in Chief of the universe and in the communion of saints. Today is the time to make sure Jesus is your spiritual sponsor for that coming day.
Marine Corps: As a sponsor…you provide initial important contact [and] first impression of our unit.
Jesus provides the connection between God and us, “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13-14).
Navy: Meet incoming Sailors/families…Remember the feelings and confusion experienced as a new arrival.
Jesus knows our weaknesses, feelings, and fears, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are —yet he did not sin” (Hebrews 4:15). He has us firmly in hand.
Air Force: Sponsors can help reduce anxiety… [of] a PCS move…A newcomer can reduce stress by talking to someone “already there.”
Jesus invites us to bring our worries to Him, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest“(Matthew 11:28). He is faithful and true to help us through this life’s many difficult struggles and put us at ease whenever we approach our final assignment.
Coast Guard: Relocating to a new duty station…can be a trying experience.
Jesus faithfully cares for and nurtures us daily, and will one day present us into God’s glorious presence “without fault and with great joy” (Jude 24-25).
Army: Escort… [and] introduce the new arrival to chain of command.
Our spiritual sponsor will one day escort us into heaven and introduce us to the Apostles, martyrs, and all Christians throughout history—and ultimately to Almighty God.
Bill served thirty years active duty as a Navy line officer and then as a chaplain at Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard commands, including combat. He led many to Christ and was with others PCSing to their ultimate homecoming. Now serving at a Florida retirement community chapel, Bill and his wife have two sons and five grandchildren.