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Caring for Military Families
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by Garry Losey
 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5,6.

 

It is hard enough to give up our own ideas and trust in God in the easy times. It is even harder to give up our own ideas and trust God in the tough times, especially for military families who must live with separation and fear for the safety of their loved ones in times of war.

 

Through the years I have seen families come to Dover, Delaware to receive the body of their soldier who was lost in combat. I have seen the difference that faith in a loving God can make for these families. I can remember a 20 year old woman who came to see her brother, a squad leader staff sergeant, brought home along with two specialists who had also lost their lives in Afghanistan. The father of one of these specialists was so immobilized by his grief that he stood all alone, unable to connect with others in the group. Just before the three soldiers were transferred, the young woman approached this father, prayed with him, and encouraged him to put his trust in God no matter what. The father was profoundly moved by that touch of faith.

 

Pastors and church leaders can provide an important support for military families in their congregations. They can encourage military families to put their trust in God and to be a positive strength to others in times of crisis. Here's how:

 

1.   Encourage your congregation to be people of prayer. Pray for your military members, especially when they serve in a war zone. Pray for your military families who remain at home.

 

2.   Visit military families in their homes and over the phone to let them know that you are with them. This is especially important in times of uncertainty and times of loss.

 

3.   Provide practical assistance to husbands and wives who are alone, or who are alone with their children - yard work, household cleaning, childcare, etc.

 

4.   Do something special for your military families on Sabbaths that fall around Memorial Day, Veterans Day, etc.

 

It is said that one percent of Americans serve in the military - and that is true. But there are another two or three percent of Americans who make up the families of those military personnel. We need to be there to support them, especially when their loved one is deployed on a hardship tour (tours of duty without families) or in a combat area where they are in harm's way every single day. Let us hold them up with our love and prayers.

Chaplain Garry Losey recently retired from the US Army Reserves