Here are some ways the military can teach us more about God:
- Freedom isn't free; it costs a great deal. People in the military often make sacrifices and endure pain to secure and protect our nation's freedoms - placing themselves in dangerous situations, leaving family and friends behind for long periods of time, suffering torture, injury, and death. Christ, in His great love for us, made the ultimate sacrifice on the cross so that we could be free to have an abundant life on Earth and an eternal relationship with God.
- No matter what the circumstances - whether inside muddy trenches under fire from an enemy or in the midst of a difficult civilian situation - God will be present and will keep His promises. He is always trustworthy, and knows exactly what you need.
- Praying for enemies and forgiving them through God's power is essential. All people, no matter what wrong choices they make, have been made in God's image. God grieves for everyone who is lost and hopes they will choose relationships with Him. No one is beyond hope if people pray for him or her. Forgiveness enables people who have been wounded physically, mentally, and spiritually to rid themselves of the poison of bitterness and embrace the future in healthy ways.
- Every moment of life is a gift from God that should be treasured and used well. Life can end suddenly, at any moment.
- Wherever people move and however the circumstances of their lives change, if they're Christians, they remain part of God's universal family. Even when separated from human families and friends, people can always count on God and brothers and sisters in Christ.
- God's grace is what ultimately sustains people. Although the military operates in an orderly way by using a system of ranks, God loves all people - from a freshly recruited enlisted soldier to a veteran officer - the same and gives all equal access to His power to accomplish His purposes in their lives.
- When God allows suffering, He will always redeem it somehow in the lives of those who love Him. He transforms evil into good according to His will for all concerned.
- God is always looking for people willing to serve. He has many opportunities available to those willing to join His army. Although recruits can expect some hardship, their commitment will prove worthwhile beyond anything they can imagine.
Adapted from Taking the High Ground: Military Moments with God, copyright 2001 by Col. Jeff O'Leary. Published by Cook Communications Ministries, Colorado Springs, Colo., www.ivictor.com, 1-800-437-4337.
Col. Jeff O'Leary has served more than 20 years in the United States Air Force, during which he logged more than 2,000 flight hours. He holds four air medals, four meritorious service medals, the Southwest Asia service medal with two battle stars, and an outstanding unit award with valor. Currently serving on military duty at the Pentagon, he had commanded three organizations and was the deputy group commander for operations over more than 3,000 personnel.
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