by LtGen Bruce L. Fister, USAF, (Ret.)
Many of you, and your families, have embarked or will soon embark upon this new adventure. You enter into another phase of the battle here on earth and the greater battle in the heavenly realms. As Paul said in Ephesians 6:12, “for the struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
You are being placed at new battle stations aboard this military ship of life. Perhaps you are headed back into conflict in Iraq or Afghanistan. Your family will again settle in a new set of quarters, kids will anticipate new friends and a new school, and wives will be searching for Christian fellowship.
Some of you newly commissioned members are, or soon will be, beginning your marriage. Other members are, or soon will be, assuming increasing levels of responsibility in new assignments.
For single members, new challenges and assignments may seem even more difficult. Without a built-in family support system that travels with you, you not only have the challenges of military life, but you may have to find a whole new set of Christian friends and new sources of fellowship.
Since you are “commissioned” to enter into this battle, you can expect the unexpected. Every battle has its crisis. The question is, “When crisis enters into your life will you view this as a time that may seem unfair, unexpected, and just to be tolerated, or will you view this as a challenge placed before you by God for His greater purpose?”
Mothers will no doubt face the unexpected. Children will get sick, there will be crises in school, or housing may be a problem. Your husband may be deployed and you may struggle to fill two roles while continuing to focus on spiritual connectivity with your husband a world away. The battle is real, and it is spiritual.
For those entering operational assignments, there is one thing for certain: there will be crises. You will have short-notice deployments, training will be demanding, and if deployed in this war on terrorism, the pressures of mounting combat operations will be intense. You can expect to deal with the casualties of war. That is a part of being a leader and part of “exercising biblical leadership.”
So, how prepared will you be to deal with crisis? Will you react under your own strength or will you call upon the Lord to carry you through His plan for your life for His purposes?
You were called by God for a purpose in our military and that purpose may not be easy or even clear, especially during a crisis. You may ask, “Why another deployment, why a sick child, or why did one of my troops or shipmates die?” As David Jeremiah said, “Destructive moments are often divine appointments.” Life is not intended to be easy here on earth, but life is not god; the Lord is life and we can have it abundantly. But in spite of any crisis you encounter, as a Christian, you should have hope. The apostle John says, “…for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”
As a family member or military member, you were “commissioned” in our Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard to do the work of our Lord as professional military servants, as a family, and as ambassadors of Jesus Christ.
The crises in your lives will be hard, but they are for His purposes and for the purpose of shaping you in His image. So praise the Lord as you take on this new “commission” and this next assignment that the Lord has prepared for you.
In the words of the apostle Paul, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”