While this is not your first visit to our family, fourteen months will certainly make it the longest. As we near our first month together, I want to share a few thoughts with you. As expected, you’ve come bearing “gifts”—loneliness, anxiety, fatigue, frustration, hectic schedules, sleepless nights, even a broken window and dishwasher. The thing is, my God has also offered some gifts of his own—reminders of his presence in the midst of the journey. After just one month, I can already see how he intends to use your stay to change our family, to teach us, to help us grow and mature in him.
I know the blessings of God’s gifts will far exceed the annoyances of yours. So, deployment, while I cannot say that I am happy you are here, and I certainly do not enjoy your company, you are welcome to stay. I know that we will have some difficult days together, and honestly, I hope that once you leave, I will never have to see you again.
More than anything, I choose to trust my God. I know when the appointed time comes for you to leave, my family and I will be able to say with certainty born of experience that God really does cause all things to work together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28). We will declare we really can do all things through Christ who gives us strength (Philippians 4:13). Yes, we will see the glory of God through this and we will say, “Thank you!”
Air Force wife Tracie penned these words to a personified deployment. I read them and shook my head in wonder. What journey did this young woman take to get to the place where she could see deployment as good and describe it as a blessing?
Tracie would be the first person to tell you the blessing of deployment was hard-earned, born out of persevering through loneliness and fighting through fear. She would tell you she did this well on some days and not so well on other days. Most importantly, she would tell you that she did not get to the place of blessing alone. Tracie had the help of family, friends, and military agencies. Her key source of help was the presence of God, who walked with her during the time her husband was away.
The book of Exodus chronicles a type of deployment. Though different from the deployment you may face as a military wife, you can apply the biblical principles presented. The deployment described in Exodus was the first of this type for the Israelites. They were not sure what their journey would hold. No doubt they wondered if they would even continue to exist as a people. They had no resource guides or agencies to look to for assistance. They did not have friends who had walked the road before. This was a maiden voyage. They learned some valuable first-person lessons that can benefit those who are looking toward, or are in the midst of deployment.
Just like Tracie, the Israelites made it through deployment primarily with the presence and help of the Lord. That same help and presence of the Lord is available to you as you make your deployment journey.