This morning, before my mind was clogged by the things of the day, my Lord reminded me what a lieutenant once said to me while in the Coast Guard. He said “the Coast Guard wasn’t his God” at a time that we both were facing a reduction in force.
That stayed with me through the years, as it resonated so much for me. I was 18 years into being an Army Reserve Technician, (across from the U.S. Coast Guard Yard) and I really didn’t want to obligate myself to military service beyond my 20 years, yet the rules had changed and all technicians were being forced to stay in till they be 60 years of age – or forfeit their job as a technician. I had told my wife, “the Army doesn’t own me, only one person owns me, and that is Jesus Christ” while pointing up to heaven!
I have never liked the world or humanity dictating to me the direction my life should play, especially when the contract is changed mid-stream to one’s original obligation to service. To me, this is enslavement to the world, the world taking on God ship to another’s life.
Don’t get me wrong, military obligation should always be honored, especially in a time of war, and many have paid the ultimate price. Nor am I one to shirk my obligation or loyalty to my brothers in arms who may be asked to shed their own blood for the sake of others!
In fact, I forced the Army to amend my orders as to NOT be removed from the current unit which I was serving with, as they were being mobilized in support of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Although I could have avoided this mobilization, due to administrative sloppiness and sloth. So, I insisted on remaining, and I was then cut orders under Operation Enduring Freedom, and sent on my way just like the rest of the troops I was serving with the last few years.
What is interesting however, is that a little more than a year after returning home, and the second day back in my old watercraft unit, is when I had my career ending heart attack in water survival training! By the calendar, this was my 20 years of service, which I had been grumbling about within my service career the years before! I was not expected to survive the night, and like I have posted before, I had Jesus shoulder to shoulder with me when my heart stopped. They medically retired me a couple of years later as my heart would not allow for combat conditions. I remember my Dad saying, “be careful what you wish for, you just might get it”!
I don’t intend to be vindictive in mentioning what I was told recently: “that I had left the Lord for my love of country, more than my love for Christ” and that ” I was being chastened of God”, in given the circumstances concerning my heart… So in, “not taking any chances” with these so-called “prophetic words”, I must admit that tearfully I sought the Lord in the depths of my being, asking why he had graced me so much, and if he felt I had strayed from my love of him, to rather loving the world instead?
The deep reminder I was given this morning concerning the lieutenant’s words to me so many years ago, resonated with me again about “Americanism” being my God, Donald Trump, or all the rest. This type of thinking is not consistent in how the Lord has chosen to do a work within my life, and in fact it is exactly opposite! The grace of God has been tried and tested again in my life, especially when considering this my second trail of dealing with my heart: in removing the infected hardware, was only made possible for success by receiving the world renown surgeon (Dr.Love) who invented this laser surgery, and who said “I was a challenge for him”, while being turned away by other hospitals.
The steps of the righteous are ordained of God, and no matter how well-meaning, mere men can be deceived to what is actually taking place within another’s heart, just like with Job’s “friends” as he was put to the test by Satan.
I am reminded of the old hymnal song Amazing Grace ; ‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved” – and tis grace that will lead me home. So, that’s what the Lord moved to think on this morning, and revealing my heart towards him. It is He who is Lord of my life, not because I have earned it, but by grace alone, he has moved me in it!