Saying goodbye to my son on the occasions he left for military duty has blessed and challenged my heart in ways unlike any other experience.
First, I am grateful to have such a son (while recognizing that the qualities that made Noah a Force Reconnaissance Marine came solely from the maternal side of the equation! I say this not to be humble. It is true, as anyone who knows Frances will attest). It is a wonderful thing to so respect an offspring that you see numerous qualities in him you’d like to emulate (wonderfully, this applies to my daughters no less than Noah). Knowing also how seriously he takes his oath to defend the Constitution of the United States, at whatever cost, also causes me to realize that good and noble things dwell in the heart of my son, things that only God could have instilled and inspired.
Great challenge also comes in times of Noah’s deployments. The possibilities that come to mind need no explanation, and the sentiment of “commending him to the grace of God” becomes far more than a hopeful phrase or even prayer. Seeking our Lord for Noah’s strengthening and protection comes from somewhere deep inside my heart beyond thoughts, words, and any sensibility that I could ever discern apart from the experience that opens such a portal of the soul. I’ve often said that having children will make one pray if nothing else will. Having a child in harm’s way exponentially increases the likelihood of our seeking the help of God.
In such times, I have found it an especially blessed thing that the Father to whom I pray well knows the experience of sending a beloved Offspring into harm’s way.
“God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him” (I John 4:9).
My experience of challenge in Noah’s deployments is a mere glimmer of that which God the Father experienced in the departure of His Son from Heaven. He fully knew all that would transpire, from the lowly manger to the horrible cross. Even more, the Father knew that His Son’s sorrows and pains would result not only from the evil of human and devilish sources, but also “by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God” (Acts 2:23). Scripture does not record how God the Father felt about His role in consigning His Son to such a fate, almost surely because our hearts and minds possess no capacity to grasp such inscrutable mystery. We only know that He acted out of a heart of love for us for which we will never be able to give enough thanks.
Noah’s deployments have caused me to think about such things, and have, I hope, enhanced my loving appreciation for so good and great a Father as He who gave to us the Lord Jesus Christ. How wonderful it is to commend my own son to the care of such a God! And how wonderful to have brothers and sisters such as you to join me in the request for providential safekeeping. Bless you, and most of all…
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”