Challenges of Deployment
This topic is two-pronged: family and command. For a Christian both are important, both need pre-deployment preparation, and both (as all our activities) require prayer.
A Christian’s Family
Growing together, even when apart. Contradictory? Yet it does happen, when couples and families plan for deployment separations (e.g., praying for each other at a certain time of day, reading a daily devotional or Christian book “together”, writing or calling each other weekly, sending photographs monthly, etc.). Yes, deployment troubles and temptations occur; there is the “single parenting” situation; reintegration at the end of a deployment is sometimes not easy; and unexpected challenges inevitably arise. But the Lord is with us, both those deployed and those at home base. Are we as parents constant encouragers and humble examples to each other and to our children? Do the children see us looking to Jesus, as we run the race assigned us, not losing heart but fixing our eyes on Him, the author and finisher of our faith – and our deployment? (Heb 12:1-13).
A Christian’s Command
What do we want to happen during a deployment? Execute our assignments well; learn from our leaders and peers; provide motivating, caring leadership to our personnel; be not just a team-player, but a team-builder; and be a witness for Jesus Christ in how we perform in all situations and how we relate to all others. To do so, we must thoughtfully and prayerfully preposition our goals, objectives, and activities. How will we lead our unit? How will we develop and mentor key personnel under us? What training will we conduct? How will our faith be seen, heard, and received in conversations, fellowship, Bible studies, etc.?
Study the following biblical references and consider how they address the questions listed below. If using this outline with a Small Group, consider assigning different Scriptures to different individuals and relating them to one or more of the questions. Then scroll down the page to review our recommended resources for the topic of Challenges and Opportunities of Deployments and consider how the various articles or podcasts provide further insights relating to this topic.
Genesis 31:49; Psalm 139; Proverbs 5; II Samuel 11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-3:5; Colossians 3:22-4:1; Philippians 3:8-17, 4:4-8; 1 Peter 3:8-17; Hebrews 10:19-25; 2 John 1.
- How will we pray that “Lord watch between us” as separated family members?
- Can we be confident of God’s presence and guiding hand wherever we are?
- Extended deployments can put a strain on marriages to include the temptation to adultery in thought and action. What can we learn from David’s great failure in this area? What are some of the things we can do to resist the temptation and remain faithful to our spouse?
- In whom do we have confidence as we pray for each other during deployments?
- When deployed, what particular challenges can arise? Why is it crucial that deployed personnel and family members stay united together, especially in trials which may develop overseas or at home?
- What should be our attitude towards our duties, whether as subordinate, leader, or “blue star” spouse during a deployment?
- What are some resources available to us when deployed to help us “stand firm” and “walk in truth”? (e.g., chaplains, battle buddies, peer Bible studies, other parts of the OCF’s Integrated Faith Project
- How are you an example to your family and to your command personnel?
- What should you have in your heart and what “ready” to share graciously?
- In writing (and praying) why can separated persons be joyful? What is anticipated?
- Thought question: What expectations do you have for the reintegration of the deployed member back into the family unit? What challenges might you expect? Where might you get insights to help prepare you and your spouse and children for this eagerly awaited but sometimes difficult transition?
Following are a series of carefully selected resources that provide perspectives and experiences of various authors, most having military experience. These articles and podcasts are intended to stimulate further thinking and reflective application for individuals or to act as the basis of discussion in small groups.
OCF offers many extra resources as you continue digging into the subdomain of Challenges and Opportunities of Deployment.