Giddy as a schoolgirl
Captain Chris Plekenpol
LIFE Outreach International
"…your Father knows what you need before you ask Him." (Matthew 6:8)
Constant battle can definitely wear on the soul. We long for a time when we don’t have to talk about IEDs (improvised explosive devices), snipers and RPGs (rocket propelled grenades).
In the wake of the death of my first soldier, SSG Vaillant, I was longing for one of those moments. I had that faraway feeling that comes when you’ve been beaten down emotionally. I prayed, "Lord, give me someone to talk about You with. I’m dying here."
I walked into my TOC (tactical operation center) and found another captain there. I am situated in an old Royal Air Force base tower. It was the control tower during the times that the British Air Force was here in the early 1930’s and it provides the best line of sight in the camp. So it also has the best communications range. The other captain saw my Message Bible on the table and started reading it. After a moment he asked, "Is this yours?"
I nodded. Then he became giddy as a schoolgirl and talked about how he had never seen anything like it. He went on to explain that his wife had just given birth to his first son and it forced him to think about some sobering realities. We then talked for about an hour about what it meant to figure out God’s will. What an incredible conversation.
As he was talking, I could just feel God. I actually had to hold back the tears. Why was I crying over a conversation about God’s will? I was emotionally and spiritually starving, and He fed me. I had been used to feasting in a Christian environment, but now I was in a place where not everyone automatically voiced their love for Jesus. I found my soul very hungry.
So in one conversation, God reminded me that He is capable of providing for my needs. I love that.
When I am running on empty, God always comes through. David wrote: "God, investigate my life; get all the facts firsthand. I’m an open book to you; even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking. You know when I leave and when I get back; I’m never out of your sight. You know everything I’m going to say before I start the first sentence. I look behind me and you’re there, then up ahead and you’re there, too your reassuring presence, coming and going. This is too much, too wonderful I can’t take it all in!" (Psalm 139: 1-6, The Message)
What a powerful thing it is to know that God knows when I am hurting. He knows when I am at my limit and I just need a little grace.
Grace. So perfect. So pure. So God. That is what He delivers. Often in life we are running on fumes. No matter how much we desire godliness, we can find ourselves in a rut…or even a desert. Even though all we want is His closeness, we wonder if He hears our cries.
The truth is, He does hear you! He knows what you need. He’s more than willing to help.
Just ask Him. Where are you? Are you feeling low, beat down by an unending series of crisis? Do you find yourself reeling emotionally and spiritually? Do you feel as though God is not there, or not paying attention? Do you know that Jesus has experienced those same feelings? Did you know all He wants from you is for you to ask Him for help with an honest heart that acknowledges its weaknesses and need of a Savior?
Remember: God loves the honest heart.
Adapted from Faith in the Fog of War: Stories of Triumph and Tragedy in the Midst of War by Captain Chris Plekenpol, during his 2004 tour of duty in Iraq as a tank company team commander. Hear Capt. Plekenpol’s stories on LIFE Today this Veteran’s Day, Tuesday November 11.
"Pour your heart out to the Lord and ask for His help."
"Lord, I need Your help! My heart hurts. My feelings are telling me many things, but You promise to stay with me always. You know what’s going on in my life. Nothing I’m dealing with is a surprise to You. Please help me and help me see Your help. Amen."