On September 11 of this year, America remembered the 20th anniversary of 9/11, the series of four terrorist attacks that changed the United States forever. As part of the ceremonies, our nation’s top defense officials—Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley—commemorated our fallen service men and women who died protecting us in the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT). Their words reminded me of my husband Reggie.
Reggie was a fallen service member, but not in the GWOT or the US military. Reggie was a soldier in God’s army who died during an attack of the enemy.
Like 9/11, the attack wasn’t just on Reggie. The attack was on me, Reggie’s parents, other family members and friends. And like our country, the attack changed our lives forever.
The Impacts of Service
Both General Milley and Secretary Austin recognized the impact of those changes. Personalizing General Milley, in the aftermath of that attack, we are/were “very conflicted.” We had “feelings of pain and anger, sorrow and sadness, combined with pride and resilience.” One thing I am certain of: my husband did his duty. His service mattered. His sacrifice was not in vain.
“We are all now, this very day, very conflicted with feelings of pain and anger, sorrow and sadness, combined with pride and resilience. But one thing I am certain of: For every soldier, sailor, airman and Marine, for every CIA officer, for every FBI agent, for every cop and fireman—you did your duty. Your service mattered. Your sacrifice was not in vain.”Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley
As fellow service members, our service matters. Our sacrifice is not in vain. God sees our tears:
You number my wanderings; Put my tears into Your bottle; Are they not in Your book? When I cry out to You, Then my enemies will turn back; This I know, because God is for me. In God (I will praise His word), In the Lord (I will praise His word), In God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? Vows made to You are binding upon me, O God; I will render praises to You, For You have delivered my soul from death. Have You not kept my feet from falling, That I may walk before God In the light of the living? ~Psalm 56:8-13
God doesn’t just see our tears; He collects them. Why? “This I Know, because God is for me.”
So, personalizing Secretary Austin, “It is our job to defend the great experiment that is [our spiritual community]. To protect this exceptional Republic, body and soul. And to defend [God’s] people …, even when it’s hard, especially when it’s hard.”
…Even when it’s hard…
Especially when it’s hard.
“It is our job to defend the great experiment that is America. To protect this exceptional Republic, body and soul. And to defend the American people in our democracy, even when it’s hard, especially when it’s hard.”Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin
Creating a New Life While Serving
Creating a new life in the wake of a catastrophic event is hard. The event we went/are going through “involved or caused sudden great damage or suffering.”
Just thinking about the damage and suffering we have endured can make us want to quit, but that is what the enemy wants. The enemy wants to steal our victories. He wants to steal our harvests.
Our loss, our devastating event was an attack—a terrorist attack. And like all terrorists, the enemy knows he can’t win a frontal assault. God is too powerful a force for that. The enemy knows he doesn’t have a chance at a frontal assault, so instead he sneaks up from behind and tries to steal our victories by picking us off one-by-one.Creating a new life in the wake of a catastrophic event is hard. The event we went/are going through “involved or caused sudden great damage or suffering.” Click To Tweet
His weapon of choice: Fear.
The enemy wants to terrorize you. He wants to convince you that your life, your Christian life is not worth living.
For most Christians, this can’t be accomplished with just one attack. In the months preceding my husband’s death, I had two miscarriages. Like on 9/11, I experienced a series of attacks—all designed to steal my life, my dreams, and my victories. The series of attacks was all part of an ongoing war to terrorize me—to make me afraid that the abundant life I had was over or out of reach.
But I knew I could have another abundant life after the loss of a spouse. I did it following my divorce. I saw my mother do it following my father’s passing. The key was joining God in His creation of me and my life, not giving up on Him.
So, I continued in the fight. And God is calling you to continue too.
- How do you see your service in God’s army?
- What have you lost as a result of or while serving in God’s army?
- How has your loss impacted your ability to continue the fight?
- What can you prepare for future attacks?