My husband, Garrett, left about a week ago for deployment. This is our fifth deployment, between the two of us, and I wish I could say that it gets easier. However, the Lord continues to use each period of separation to teach us more about Himself and for that, Garrett and I are very grateful! I am excited for Garrett to get to apply his skills and all of his hard work and training while on deployment, and I am grateful for this incredible mission opportunity that he has to reach a people group that many Christians do not have easy access to. Garrett wrote down his reflections for me as he traveled to his deployment location, and we wanted to share them with you all:
Ah deployment. What a deal. It’s like high-stakes military summer camp except without the sleep and the games. It’s that thing that you kind of look forward to until you start and then you kind of just want to go home. It’s where lifelong bonds are forged, the limits of the human body are tested, and where Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen must be prepared to march through the extreme highs and the extreme lows of the human experience.
The truth is, as I sit in an airport on my way towards deployment, I am excited. Obviously I’m not excited to leave Brynn (you know by now how cool she is), but I am excited to have an adventure and to do the job that my platoon has been training for so long to do. But I know that excitement and adventure and travel and friendship are only one side of the coin. What is also true is that deployments are really hard. Being physically and emotionally separated from family creates loneliness and marital conflict and disconnectedness from kids. Being separated from Christian community can cause Christian disciplines to slip, leading us to value sinful pleasure more than the glory of Christ. And for many, the physical and emotional wounds received on deployment cause scars that torment the body and mind and heart for years after they come home.
So what are we to do? How, as Christians, are we to respond to this unique challenge?
My initial reaction is fear. Reminded of the pain I have experienced on past deployments, (mine and Brynn’s) I dread having to walk back into that lion’s den. I have felt deep loneliness so now I am afraid to be alone. My marriage has been affected so now I am afraid of being separated from Brynn. Most importantly, my walk with Christ has suffered greatly during past deployments so now I am afraid to fall back into old sin, proving to myself and to the world that I do not treasure Jesus.
Praise be to God! Fear has no power over me!
If it were up to me, I should have every reason to be afraid. But I do not deploy alone. I deploy in the perfect and sovereign plan of our Father, following the footsteps of His redeeming Son, and filled with the Holy Spirit who replaces fear with power, love, and self-control (2 Tim 1:7). I have no reason to be afraid because I have Christ! Jesus wandered in a desolate wilderness to show us that fellowship with the Father is all that we need to thrive on deployment. Jesus hung forsaken on the cross so that we can know that we will never be forsaken, no matter how alone we feel on deployment. In His death Jesus took on the sin of the world so that we no longer have to die as slaves to sin but can live freely as slaves to righteousness. And after three days in the grave Jesus was raised to life, conquering death itself so that no matter how dangerous our physical or spiritual circumstances, we can rejoice in the hope of the glory of God, trusting Him with our present and our future for all eternity to come.
What sweet relief is found in Christ. What a relief to know that whatever happens to me during this deployment and whatever happens back home, I do not have to fear because I belong to God and He is in control.
Believing this marvelous truth can be difficult, so I humbly ask for prayer. But I know that God is faithful. He is faithful to me and He is faithful to you. Wherever you go and whatever you do, trust in Him and you will be able to say with Paul: “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Rom 8:18)
Post by Garrett Gray