Today is a hard day. Maybe one of the hardest yet. And I really do apologize that my own personal hurt may bleed out onto the screen but the salt on the wounds these days just stings a little too much.
This world, even the church, can’t possibly understand the brutality of screaming bodies and scattered remains unless they’ve been there too. Family and friends can’t imagine the heat of the explosions and the constant rattle of the brain or the endless knock at death’s door, unless they’ve fought too. Coworkers and neighbors stare when sweat starts to pour when the noise gets too loud or when the mission can’t be carried out, even if that’s just mowing the lawn. Desperate spouses try to understand the lure of suicide or the numbing glass bottle, but we just can’t. Sometimes I think I know but I don’t.
Today there will be parades and free desserts. Children are out of school in remembrance and television specials will air of wars gone by. But the reality of being a Veteran will be too much for many and today will just be that hard.
The truth of this day is much uglier than many care to know. A reality that has been my husband’s and in fact, my entire family’s. Let me share.
-The Department of Veterans Affairs can’t medically explain chronic symptoms that include fatigue, headaches, joint pain, indigestion, insomnia, dizziness, respiratory disorders, and memory problems. They call it Gulf War Syndrome for Veterans who have served in that area.
Unfortunately, the list could go on. But what’s even more heartbreaking? These cold, hard statistics only represent the result, the aftermath of war. No one talks about what actually happened while away. No one thinks about the man who gave his life for us to stand in streets and start fires and no one thinks about the mom who never returned so we could be a divided nation and fight with one another. No one thinks of the son who will forever be in a wheelchair when they are committing crimes and no one thinks of daughters severely burned from fire when disputing which lives matters most. See, I told you. I’m starting to bleed out.
“Thank you for your service” means nothing if you aren’t honoring that sacrifice with your own life. Thanks, but no thanks.
I watch my husband’s health declining to unexplained causes. I’ve witnessed his alcohol abuse and addictions to help cope with the screaming memories. Our family went through separation because it just got that hard. But God.
I don’t know who you are but I have prayed for you today. Whether you are a Christian or an unbeliever, whether you are a mom or a dad, or whether you are spouse or a child, you have been prayed for. Maybe you are a Veteran? Yes, most definitely prayed for today.
Regardless of who you are, we all face horrific pasts and troubling futures. We endure pain and suffering and we face death and grief. Life is hard. This world is sad. It can all seem too much or too hopeless at times but it’s not. The memories, the mistakes, the regrets, it’s not too much. The brokenness and the turmoil. Nope, not too much either.
You see, the stench of war and the despair of this world can so easily distract us from the One who is Sovereign. The One who promises help and deliverance. A God that provides, restores, and heals. A King who promises a future glory.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. Romans 8:1
But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:25-28
God never promised an easy life but He has assured believers that He is a Good Daddy. Suffering and trials provide the opportunity to sink into His lap and soak up His faithfulness. The pain and the conflict gives way when we rest in the truth of His word. And in the end, our Father above will finish what He has started in each of us with final glorification and an eternity with Him. Thank God.
On this Veterans Day, go ahead and say thank you but let it be a reminder. A reminder that the sacrifice paid in combat allows you to worship the King who sacrificed on the cross. Honor them both but be assured, Jesus Christ is the ultimate healer of your wounded heart and of this wounded land. There’s no need for me to bleed out when His blood has covered it all. Let us pray for one another and let us remember that this day is a hard day for many.
Heroes they are and the sacrifice seems too much. From one military family to another, it is an honor to have served with you. I am so proud of you and beg you to never give up.
If you are a Veteran or if you know a Veteran that is struggling, please believe that the bravest, most courageous step you can take is to ask for help. Take it from my husband. A Marine Combat Veteran who struggled for years, battled addiction, lost his family, and attempted suicide twice. There is help. There is hope. We are proof. A relationship with Jesus Christ will provide the comfort and strength needed to pursue the help that you deserve. Reach out today. You are loved. We are praying. If you need help to contact your local Veterans Resource Officer, please send me a message and I will help.
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. Genesis 50:20