Devotions

Facing Enemies

Deuteronomy 31:6 (ESV):  “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

There are many kinds of enemies. My first combat tour in Afghanistan was a year long deployment. I oversaw the religious support for the southern region where there were many forward operating bases that had no chaplain assigned to them. I oversaw about 20 chaplains. I sent them out, in harm’s way, to those bases to provide hope, word, and sacrament to the military members assigned there.

As the supervising chaplain I also arranged the schedule for all the chaplains to go home for “mid-tour” rest and recuperation. When one of my chaplains was gone, I took their place. During my year I travelled tens of thousands of miles in helicopters and other vehicles to provide religious services. I travelled in and over “enemy” ground.

My work in Afghanistan was similar to what the Israelites experienced as they prepared to enter the promised land. Moses knew that the people would face enemies. Moses therefore spoke words of encouragement.

When I think about my work in combat zones I had a peace that I know came from God. As I reflect on my times in helicopters, I also reflect on the many memorial ceremonies I was involved in due to helicopter crashes. Many Soldiers died. I didn’t, but I could have.

Why didn’t I have fear and dread? I believe it is because of my firm understanding that the Lord my God was with me. God would not leave me or forsake me. As a result, I was strong and courageous and I was able to deliver words of hope and peace, even in the midst of conflict.

I am so thankful that now I don’t face enemies that are focused on killing me. Still, I face enemies. There are many kinds. Regardless of my enemy, from the world, from within myself, or from Satan, I can apply the truth found in the words of Moses. I can be strong and courageous.

Prayer: Heavenly Father,  there are so many reasons that I could live in fear. Thank You, that You go with me. Thank You that You will not leave me or forsake me, regardless of the kind of enemy that I face.

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