Many years ago, unbeknownst to me at the time, God assigned me the warrior. Though I learn more every year concerning exactly what all this ministry involves, I reached a newfound understanding of my responsibility last night surrounded by complete strangers in the middle of a dimly lit movie theater in Fort Benning, GA.
Looking around, I would have assumed there would have been far more people present to watch the newly released and highly anticipated documentary No Greater Love. But as the previews began to play, no one else ventured inside the room. The very few that chose to sit together didn’t display the typical Friday night movie goer excitement that I’m used to seeing. The mood was somber before the film ever started and I couldn’t imagine exactly why.
Beside me sat a woman that I met for the very first time and beside her was another woman whom she didn't already know. Both in front and behind us were lone Soldiers not keeping themselves busy with their phones or devices, but with eyes plastered face forward at a screen they anticipated to reveal what I couldn’t know. I said a silent prayer for whatever it was we were about to discover and did not anticipate what I soon learned.
As details behind the 101st Airborne Division’s ‘No Slack’ were spoken by those who experienced them first hand came the staunch revelation that this was not a typical documentary, but the secret and most commonly unspoken diary of War itself. With each new perspective shared came tears from all four corners of the room. As I was already prepared for an emotional response and truly understand the challenges of fighting an ongoing battle of good versus evil, a sudden new and unexpected pain overcame me.
I spend much of my life encouraging the weary fighter to get up from where they gave up, but what I felt in this room was not a spirit of fear and cowardice, but an intense desire for peace and justice. The conflict we were watching in front of us was not a past victory won through tough circumstance and great loss, but a very current battle each of us were fighting from our own individual seats. As the weeping around me grew louder and less controlled, I couldn’t help but cry out for the souls who though they returned home in bodily form never truly left the battlefield.
Post-traumatic stress is a very real and complicated beast. The depression that often ensues an individual after an overwhelmingly intense experience can and will become the most effective weapon of our enemy. Reigning in the wondering thoughts of a man or woman is nearly impossible, but there is a way to minimize our vulnerabilities.
Bill Gothard once said, “Teach someone their rights and you will have a revolution; teach people their responsibilities and you will have a revival.” No Greater Love is evidence of an unseen force against us, therefore it will naturally require our faith and action to conquer it. We cannot in good conscious believe that we are unaffected by depression and the rates of suicide around us. The statistics speak for themselves. Both conditions are caused by great trauma and demand an equally potent force to bring forth healing and restoration. Our urgency and conviction in this matter is vital to the recovery process of all present and future wounded warriors.
In agreement with Director and Producer Chaplain Justin D. Roberts, I too believe that there is nothing more powerful than laying down our own agendas to pick up and help carry the burdens of a struggling brother or sister.
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
John 15:3 (KJV)