Wednesday, September 26, 2007

When It's Their Time To Go, I Cannot Prevent It

We meet together on Sunday’s as members of our small church group, all dressed in camouflage and wielding weapons of war. I’m an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint, a.k.a. the Mormons. You may recognize a few names of persons who go to my church, Mitt Romney, Harry Reid, Orrin Hatch, in the political circles; Steve Young or Shawn Bradley in athletics. We come in all different shapes and sizes; we’re Republicans and Democrats and Independents. Only some of us have horns.

As I gave the opening prayer in church recently, I felt inspired to pray in behalf of the people of Iraq, that their land can be blessed and their situations improved. I prayed that they could have peace and hope! Curtiss, an NCIS agent, gave the lesson on revelation. He mentioned that my prayer was a revelation to him. He has often prayed for his own safety, the safety of his men and the others around him, but now he feels he needs to change up the way he prays.

I felt—and feel—the exact same way. I am going to change how I offer prayers and I want to ask my family to do likewise. I appreciate very much their prayers in my behalf, but I feel strongly we need to pray for the people here. Only then will the situation improve and, in addition, the coalition forces will be safe. I pray for the wars to cease. (I write that as it sounds like giant U.S.-delivered ordnance has landed not too far from us here.)

I felt on Sunday during the passing of the sacrament that every bullet, every bomb fragment, every non-battle related injury is in the Lord’s hands. He has the power to allow it; He has the power to stop it. We can do all we can to prevent it, but that might not be enough. He can prevent it. He knows all things. He knows the future. He controls all things. Angels are at his disposal to intervene in our behalf.

But still, numerous good people get injured. Many also have been and will be killed. I, too, may die or get injured. I don’t know. I may arrange the convoy in such a way that certain people may be killed or get injured all because I made out the seating arrangement and vehicle placement in a particular way. I selected some soldiers to go while I chose others to stay behind. Is that really my burden and load to carry?

Even though I might not think of it when or if the worst should occur, it was the Lord who chose them, not me.

Does that mean some will get killed, maimed or injured, or some may have to use defense actions while others do not or cannot? Sure.

Inevitably I do not control human lives, although as a leader of troops, I feel that tremendous burden.

At some future day I could lament, and surely other soldiers have silently mourned: “It could happen to anybody, but it happened to them—to us—and now there is an exceeding amount of guilt and pain. What could I have done better? Or rather, I could have done [this or that] and prevented it.”

No, sir. No sparrow or hair of the head falls to the earth, save God knows it.

God has given us wisdom and talents; we’ve educated ourselves and Uncle Sam has trained us, but really we are not in control.

Do we thank God that we lived while others were killed? This is probably the most difficult thing that occurs during tragedies. An atheist recently sent me an email mocking this practice. It’s a tragedy when people die, but it's their time to go home. And, to others who escape and survive, it is a miracle. The universe, stars and planets, all the earth and the glories of creation, and the cycle of life is not as simple as the atheist thinks in his own wisdom it is. But while thanking God for having lived, yet some of us may feel guilty for having been preserved. I believe that God allows courageous men and women to go back to Him once their time here on earth is complete.


I gotta tell ya, it’s hot here in Iraq; and when I think of these young soldiers and their families, well, even though it might not be that manly or tough, I must admit, sometimes a little sweat trickles down from my eyes.

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