From the Ranch

From the Ranch

Friday, May 3, 2013

Good News, Stevie's in Heaven

Last night I visited in the hospital room of a good, (now a Veteran,) Soldier who is in premature labor with her fourth child.  It was such a good time and blessing, and I experienced again that knowledge of just how much God loves Soldiers in a special way.  As I always say, it is because they, like David, are "willing."  She was so distressed and upset to find herself confined to bed, because her husband, (also a Veteran,) works full time, and they have three children under five.  In addition they are both full time college students.  She, as any woman who runs their house well, is a remarkable wife and mother, and a student who expects nothing but the best performance from herself,  and she is having a hard time with "confined in bed in the hospital." 

Brenda, (my "bestie") and I talked with her about all that is important in life, what faith is, and how obedience to God's will is how we express our love to Him.  We talked of how trust in Him always brings blessing in the end.  The discussion was long and sweet, and we shared Proverbs 16 with her.  As we prayed with her, an overwhelming sense of peace filled that room such as I have never known before, and I knew we were standing on holy ground, and as the old song goes "angels wings were winnowing all around."  God, as He always does, met the need, and I publicly offer praise for His power and glory, and how He always takes the victory and the battle.

While we were there, I heard another story of war from the battlefield.  As always the words left me humbled at our American Soldiers, who they are, what they have seen, and what they have given.  These stories change me a little more with each one I hear.  They inspire me, and challenge me to soldier on in my own life.  I am communicating this narrative for two very specific and different reasons.  First to make known to all who have never served, exactly what the price of our personal liberty, our Republic, and our Democracy, really is, the majority of that cost never is a line item in our nation's budget.

There was a family in Iraq that lived on a road down which Jared's unit routinely traveled to root out the enemy.  When they met the family they were very pro American and began giving them intelligence about the safety of the road on any given day.  They would watch through the night, know when IED's (Intermittent Explosive Devices,) had been lain, and always tell the unit of Soldiers whether the road was safe that day.

The Soldiers would bring MREs (Meals Ready to Eat,) to the family, and other little things such as water and candy.  A relationship, that those of us who have never known military service cannot understand,  formed on the battlefield.  There was a little boy in the family, of about ten years of age, and for reasons Heather did not recall, they called him Stevie.  Stevie would watch and wait for the Soldiers and run out to the road with his news for the day as they rumbled up in their huge vehicles of war.  Obviously, they developed great affection for this family, American Soldiers do that sort of thing, and their lives were kept more safe by the family.

As strange as it may sound, I wish now that I could write that the enemy found out, and in revenge and the making of an example, harm came to the family... but I have a much sadder outcome to report.  One day a National Guard Unit from Georgia, in the same giant vehicles came rumbling by, and Stevie ran out to warn them that the enemy had set out IEDs during the night.  The unit didn't know him, whether he was a friend or foe, (children are often strapped with bombs in the Middle East, and forced to run toward Soldiers.)  Somehow, Stevie was hit and killed by one of the vehicles.

When Jared's unit heard of what had happened, those strong young warriors were broken hearted.  The leader of the unit, who had children of the age of Stevie, was never the same as far as Jared and Heather know.  The father turned against the Americans in his grief, began to offer support to the enemy, and eventually Jared's unit had to arrest and imprison him.   

I wondered last night as I laid down to sleep when I finally got home, how each person of that unit and that family was dealing with this tragic experience today.  I wondered of Stevie's family, his father, mother, and sisters.  I wondered of the Guard unit, and all those members of Jared's unit.  I know how Jared is dealing with it.  Heather reports now that they have such a beautiful family, a son in particular, another child is on the way, and life is stressed, dreams of the battlefield have returned, and Stevie's face is often seen in Jared's dreams

My heart ached, and my mind reached out to the Father for comfort, and the Still Small Voice whispered, "don't worry, Stevie is home with me.  All of the children of war who were lost to time, are home for eternity with me."  Only then did peace return to my heart, and sleep, for my own nights are sometimes filled with worries of where my own sweet Soldier is, and what dangers he faces as the night passes.  When a child dies before the age of accountability, his or her destination is always heaven, no matter what their parents believe, Jesus said, "suffer not the little children to come unto me, for of such is the Kingdom of God."

The second reason I report this war story is to convey, even in war, even in tragedy, God always takes the victory in the end.  To those who have served, and given so much, whether mankind values your service, honors you for it, whether your earthly family understands or not where you have been, and what you have seen and had to do... God does.  Blessings to you and yours.

 Jared's and Heather's two oldest children are a delight to my heart!

Proverbs 16
1 The plans of the mind and orderly thinking belong to man, but from the Lord comes the [wise] answer of the tongue.

All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirits (the thoughts and intents of the heart).

Roll your works upon the Lord [commit and trust them wholly to Him; He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will, and] so shall your plans be established and succeed.

The Lord has made everything [to accommodate itself and contribute] to its own end and His own purpose—even the wicked [are fitted for their role] for the day of calamity and evil.

Everyone proud and arrogant in heart is disgusting, hateful, and exceedingly offensive to the Lord; be assured [I pledge it] they will not go unpunished.

By mercy and love, truth and fidelity [to God and man—not by sacrificial offerings], iniquity is purged out of the heart, and by the reverent, worshipful fear of the Lord men depart from and avoid evil.

When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.

Better is a little with righteousness (uprightness in every area and relation and right standing with God) than great revenues with injustice.

A man’s mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps and makes them sure.

10 Divinely directed decisions are on the lips of the king; his mouth should not transgress in judgment.

11 A just balance and scales are the Lord’s; all the weights of the bag are His work [established on His eternal principles].

12 It is an abomination [to God and men] for kings to commit wickedness, for a throne is established and made secure by righteousness (moral and spiritual rectitude in every area and relation).

13 Right and just lips are the delight of a king, and he loves him who speaks what is right.

14 The wrath of a king is as messengers of death, but a wise man will pacify it.

15 In the light of the king’s countenance is life, and his favor is as a cloud bringing the spring rain.

16 How much better it is to get skillful and godly Wisdom than gold! And to get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.

17 The highway of the upright turns aside from evil; he who guards his way preserves his life.

18 Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

19 Better it is to be of a humble spirit with the meek and poor than to divide the spoil with the proud.

20 He who deals wisely and heeds [God’s] word and counsel shall find good, and whoever leans on, trusts in, and is confident in the Lord—happy, blessed, and fortunate is he.

21 The wise in heart are called prudent, understanding, and knowing, and winsome speech increases learning [in both speaker and listener].

22 Understanding is a wellspring of life to those who have it, but to give instruction to fools is folly.

23 The mind of the wise instructs his mouth, and adds learning and persuasiveness to his lips.

24 Pleasant words are as a honeycomb, sweet to the mind and healing to the body.

25 There is a way that seems right to a man and appears straight before him, but at the end of it is the way of death.

26 The appetite of the laborer works for him, for [the need of] his mouth urges him on.

27 A worthless man devises and digs up mischief, and in his lips there is as a scorching fire.

28 A perverse man sows strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.

29 The exceedingly grasping, covetous, and violent man entices his neighbor, leading him in a way that is not good.

30 He who shuts his eyes to devise perverse things and who compresses his lips [as if in concealment] brings evil to pass.

31 The hoary head is a crown of beauty and glory if it is found in the way of righteousness (moral and spiritual rectitude in every area and relation).

32 He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, he who rules his [own] spirit than he who takes a city.

33 The lot is cast into the lap, but the decision is wholly of the Lord [even the events that seem accidental are really ordered by Him].