Our Hearts Are Restless After several years of ministry to veterans one thing has captured my attention above everything else. That is veterans feel most at home when they are in company with other veterans. Listen to the words of retired Army Chaplain Robert Leroe:
“As a combat veteran and retired Army chaplain, I’ve observed that vets who remain in the military after deployment do better than those who leave the military and return to a public that does not understand or appreciate their experience. Those who stay in the military are surrounded by fellow soldiers who “get it.”
The primary function of God’s Word for Warriors is to assist our veterans returning home from deployment to acclimate into the civilian culture. This is not always easy to do for several reasons: because of what they have experienced in the complex environment of military, separations from family for prolonged periods, participation in situations involved in the horrors of war, etc.
It is difficult for non-military individuals to grasp the challenges veterans faced as they return home and pick up where they left off prior to deployment. This is further complicated by the lack of understanding of others who have not served. For example, one veteran reports from his experience that many “cast veterans as helpless victims, freeze framing veterans at the very point we hurt the most.” He continues to say that many “do not recognize the hard work, the rehabilitation, and the often solitary, invisible road that we have traveled to get to a place of healing.”
The encouraging news is that you, the readers of this newsletter and supporters of God’s Word for Warriors are making it possible for us to reach out to assist these veterans as they adjust to a new and unfamiliar environment. Essential in this journey, as veterans bring to us lives that are as complex and rich as anyone else’s, is the faith component.
A passage familiar to many of you is the word of Augustine of Hippo, who opens his Confessions with these words, “Great art thou, O Lord, and greatly to be praised; great is thy power, and of thy wisdom there is no number. . .. this tiny part of all that Thou hast created desires to praise Thee. Thou dost so excite him that to praise Thee is his joy. For Thou hast made us for Thyself and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.”
Through your support and encouragement, veterans are encountering the joy and happiness that Augustine sets forth above. And the second piece of good news is that we have found out that our veterans work incredibly hard to move on, and to live lives more in tune with what God has carved out for all of us.