But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.
Our church family is involved in an incredibly precious ministry.
It's called Operation Pray Me Home and it connects members of our church with a specialized unit of the US Army who go into particularly difficult areas of the Middle East. They are a unit who goes in first into sensitive areas to help obtain intelligence and to engage the enemy to make it safer for further troops to then be able to go into the area as well.
This unit is literally first in the line of fire.
Each member of this unit is being 'adopted' by families at church. At a ceremony next weekend, each soldier will meet the family that will be praying for them, watching over their loved ones, praying them home. And the family will receive the dog tags of that soldier to wear and hold that soldier close in their hearts.
Today, the commander of the unit came to our Sunday service so that we could pray over he and his wife as he prepares to deploy later this month. Our elders and pastor surrounded them, praying for protection, praying for his family.
He stood, strong and stoic, humble and heroic.
Our pastor asked how long he and his wife would be apart because of this deployment.
For one year, he will not see his family.
To sacrifice safety. To bring us safety. To sacrifice security. To give us greater security.
And his wife will be without him, sacrificing a precious year. A year without her mate. A year without the father of her children. All in an effort to secure the freedoms of ravaged regions and to protect our nation.
As I watched the two of them, I had to reflect of the Christ light I was seeing.
How Jesus left for deployment a couple thousand years ago. How the Bride was left behind. Not forgotten but much cherished.
I realize theologically the work of the cross secured our salvation, brought us peace with God. I realize Christ completed all He was to do for us.
But the image of this army groom and his bride today still struck a deep chord. He is leaving to do such important work. And that leaving in and of itself is a tremendous sacrifice. And his wife is also giving something so important in being separated by an ocean from her husband. Her care and raising of their family, her strength and character is so important in this time as it represents all her husband is fighting for.
We as the Bride of the Captain of a Heavenly army do wrestle with our Groom being away on assignment. He is always in our hearts but we long for the day we are reunited. And I have to believe He longs for that day too, when He comes to reclaim His Bride. The sacrifice and the struggle are long.
And the reward will be so sweet.
May the God of heaven protect and encircle the brave men and women of this special unit of Fort Hood. May their reward be sweet.