Our Stories

A Soldier's Strength

By: editor

Mike is a veteran who served in Iraq and came home with multiple problems. In addition to needing surgery, he suffered with PTSD and wrestled with questions of faith. Mike’s PTSD was so severe, that when he was in the hospital, the staff was warned never to wake him while he slept. One of the doctors ignored the warning, and when he attempted to wake Mike, he sprang from the bed, broke the doctor’s arm and nearly killed him, before becoming completely awake.


Mike also needed to hear more about God’s Word.  He lost friends in battle, killed enemies, and was wounded himself. Where was the Lord in all this? Why did he survive?  Why was he still alive?


I shared with him the history of King David who was also a veteran of combat. In fact, David had so much blood on his hands, that he was not allowed to build God’s temple in Jerusalem. However, in God’s mercy, he was allowed to gather the materials for building the temple. In faith, David also served the saving Lord by writing many of the Psalms in the Bible. The Lord forgave the sins of David, including the sins he committed as a soldier and as the king of Israel.  David was even given the honor of being a descendent of the coming Savior Jesus. David’s strength was in the saving mercy and promises of the Savior.


In Psalm 33, the Psalmist has much to say to a soldier, especially in verses 16 and following: “No king (or government) is saved by the great size of his army. No hero (or soldier) is rescued by his great strength. You cannot rely on a horse (a tank, jeep, or jet) to save you.  Its great strength will not deliver you. Look, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him, on those who wait for his mercy. …Our souls wait for the Lord.  He is our help and our shield.”


Mike learned that he had survived because of the Lord’s mercy and that the Lord has plans for him. Jesus was the ultimate soldier. He defeated death and the curse of sin. He sacrificed his sinless life on the cross to win the victory over sin and win for us the complete forgiveness of sins. Soldiers can live in the light of Jesus’ peace and strength. In his mercy, God has plans for a surviving soldier. In God’s saving love, the soldier can continue to trust and live in God’s strength. Shining the light of Jesus’ love upon Mike’s struggling and walled-in soul, strengthened his faith and gave his life new direction.


Chaplain Ken Wenzel

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