Build a Booth
A tongue-in-cheek joke told during overseas assignments goes like this: “Why do U.S. military serving overseas smile more than the local nationals? They have a DEROS.” Military life is one of the best reminders of the temporary nature of life. A deployment will end, a PCS will happen, an assignment will change, a neighbor will move—and then this cycle will begin again. If you are unhappy with a person, a house, or a situation at one assignment, just smile and wait for the inevitable change that will come.
I know military wives who have a hard time viewing life through the lens of temporary. They struggle to adjust to the constant change. I know others who embrace the opportunity to experience new things.
God’s Word reminded these Jews of the temporary nature of life. They renewed the celebration of the Feast of Booths by building temporary shelters that replicated the tents of their ancestors’ wilderness wanderings with Moses. They rejoiced together as a community over the grace of God that kept their families intact during the years of wandering. God not only sustained them, but also returned them to the land of promise.
A temporary view of life is a biblical view of life. This is not a morbid or melancholic focus. It is realistic, and for the Christ-follower it is hopeful. We have an eternal view. This world is not our permanent home. Just as the Feast of Booths reminded the Jews of God’s provision and care in a transitional state, we can be confident the Lord is with us and will help us through all our transitions. Reintegration is an important transition, but for a career military family it is one of many temporary transitions.
Here’s an idea. In your mind, build a booth for reintegration to remind you God is with you. Later you may want to build a PCS booth, a new assignment booth, or a deployment booth. Each time, reflect with your family on how God helped you through the last transition and how he will help you through this one.