Chaplain James Farrow adjusted his uniform and straightened his beret. He turned and then stood silently before the door, its cold brass knob held tightly in his hand. Through that door was the pulpit, and soon he would be doing his best to encourage the men in his company. Bowing his head, he paused for a long moment.
God, I've served in this man's Army for over 26 years. I've never had to deal with this type of problem before. I don't know what to say to these soldiers. They've been through the worst hell imaginable during their deployment. Several of them have lost their families because of it. You have to help me, I can't do this on my own. But, I know you can guide me, and when I open my mouth in a few minutes, I know you will supply the words these soldiers need to hear from you. Help me to bring comfort to them, just as you have brought comfort to me.
The sermon was charged with the spirit of God as Chaplain Farrow opened his heart and God supplied the words for his soldiers. He told them how God can take the most horrible memories and help them come to terms with them. He went on to encourage each of them to seek help from the many counselors available at the post hospital. He reassured them that Post Traumatic Stress was not something to bury, but something they needed to deal with. The whole sermon was full of love and uplifting to each man, woman, and child in attendance. Several of the soldiers went to the alter to pray at the close of the sermon. Many of them also gave the chaplain firm handshakes and told him thank you through tears as they left. The sermon definitely blessed all who attended.
Later that afternoon Chaplain Farrow laid down for a nap. He was still glowing from the assurance of knowing that God had been able to use him to help others. He peacefully drifted off to sleep. That peace didn't last very long though. Soon his dreams turned to the horrors of war. He was back in Bagdad, and bullets were hitting the hummer he was in. Up ahead he saw an IED take out one of their trucks, effectively stopping them and leaving them no way out. Suddenly there were insurgents rushing their patrol; his friends were screaming in agony as bullets riddled their bodies.
The Chaplain bolted upright in his cot. He heard a man yelling for a medic, then realized the shout came from him. Sweat was pouring off his brow and his heart was pounding with fear. He was lost for a moment, then realized were he was. Reality was beginning to sink in. His entire body was trembling, even though he knew it had just been a dream. He knew God was with him. The unmistakable presence of love surrounded him and brought comfort to his battered soul. His understanding opened up and he knew the message God wanted him to bring to his congregation that evening.
A short time later Chaplain Farrow stood in the little room at the church. Bowing his head, he prayed once more. The sermon would be on II Corinthians 1:3-4 which tells how we will be partakers of suffering so that we can comfort others with the same comfort we have received ourselves. He would open up his heart once more to show others what God could do for them. Reaching for the brass knob he stepped through the doorway to address his congregation.
"I would like to start tonight's message by telling you about a dream I had this afternoon. .."
Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. -II Corinthians 1:3-4 (KJV) - II Corinthians 1: 3-4
From the beginning the Lord let me know I was to share whatever He inspired me to write. Now, over a decade later, I'm still sharing what He's given.
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