During my last tour of service in the US Army, I was engaged in a very vivid ministry of leadership in the American military community where I was stationed. At some point, that window of opportunity closed as a large number of more liturgical believers replaced an equally large number of evangelicals rotating out. A few months later, I left as well.
And by this time my knees were a serious problem, so I left the service altogether. When I first came home to Central Oklahoma, I was under the impression I should strive to enter denominational service. That went over like a lead balloon, and my frustration drove me to prayer and long consideration of why I felt so forcefully driven to serve, and none of the obvious avenues were open. What I was allowed to do clearly was not a fulfillment of that calling, but it kept me busy. It kept me busy until the calling created too much friction with the incumbent leadership, and I was driven out.
For the last 25 years or so that conviction of calling has burned brightly. I knew that God was calling me to something I was not yet doing. Somewhere early in this period, I came to understand in my convictions that the calling was for a time and situation of great turmoil and tribulation. I knew I was going to serve, but that the conditions had not yet arisen.
It won’t be long now; there are numerous indicators and I’m not the only one who sees them. Yesterday I was out picking up trash and praying aloud because it was early and I was alone outside. Just to my right a vision appeared: It was like a bubble with all kinds of good, bad and indifferent stuff going on, very busy inside that bubble. The bubble was just barely containing it. It was just a quick flash, and then invisible again. I knew what it was immediately; the Lord reminded me that my years of longing were tied to tough circumstances, and I’d have to take upon myself a soldier’s full readiness for any number of unpleasant duties.
And to be most effective in shining my Father’s glory, I’d have to take it all in stride. I need a t-shirt emblazoned with, “It’s okay; I got this.”
My soldierly calling includes a readiness to fight, but my worst enemy will always be my fleshly self. It’s part of my particular calling as a soldier. I’m a support trooper, a logistics and operations guy (“log” and “ops” in military parlance). It’s my job to make combat possible. That’s how I’ve ministered since opening this blog — I’m building and maintaining an infrastructure that makes it possible for everyone else to conquer their enemies. You can keep the accolades and awards; it’s a very satisfying role for me. Just tell me I’ve done you some good and I’ll sleep like a baby at night.