I was talking with some of my fellow chaplains this week about what they think our near future may hold. Some of them are rolling out to Washington D.C. as part of the Army National Guard’s ready response to our nation’s citizens.
The chaplains have a role unique in military history and unique to America’s troops. The chaplains are on the front lines of providing ministry to all our troops. Our chaplains provide for our troops in accordance with the Constitution’s First Amendment.
I keep a framed copy of our Constitution’s First Amendment on my office desk and a copy of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence in my breast pocket to read regularly. The words, just in the First Amendment alone, are profoundly important and foundational to America:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or of the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
I asked one of our chaplains today how he was feeling about the next couple of weeks. “You okay? You feel good about things?” “Oh, I am ready, sir,” he said. “I’m right where I want to be. You know me.”
Yes, brother, I do know you. This is why I am encouraged. You embody the quality of most of our chaplains.
When we spoke, he was driving a van with his soldiers to our nation’s capital, and I saw once again what Scripture teaches with regard to our essence: ” . . . for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45b, ESV). Christ taught what is true of all of us: our words reveal our hearts, our core, our essential nature.
The chaplain was with his fellow soldiers. Do they know what lies ahead for them? No. Not in the immediate sense. But they know their chaplain is with them, walking through the valley of the shadow of death with them, shepherding them.
As we look at all the folly and rancor and outright spiritual suicide our nation seems intent upon inflicting upon herself through various powerful and wealthy industries and forces, may the Lord raise up those who are strong and courageous, knowing that “The LORD has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble” (Pr 16:4).
Press on faithfully. Weary not in the doing of good (Gal 6:9). May we remember our foundations.
And for those who are clothed in the righteous robes of the One who mediates between God and man, for those like the chaplain who is even now en route to the political center of our nation’s divided mind, may you be found faithful.
God made everything for its purpose. There is comfort in that truth. May we be found in Him and discharge our duties faithfully.