True charity requires courage: Let us overcome the fear of getting our hands dirty so as to help those in need.
- Pope Francis
I fought so many fears while my son was deployed to the Middle East. Probably the greatest was that somehow my prayers wouldn’t be enough to keep him safe.
I remember one night in particular. I awoke from an unknown dream, screaming in my mind. I was drenched with sweat and had tears running down my cheeks. I couldn’t remember the dream–only the terror, that horrible feeling of helplessness. I looked over and saw 2:52 a.m. blinking on my clock. I could hear my husband’s soft snores and they reassured me I hadn’t disturbed him. Too often he lost sleep because of my fears.
I knew sleep wouldn’t return anytime soon, so I grabbed my Bible and once again headed downstairs. I settled into my chair in the den and began to thumb through the pages, searching for comfort. I tried to focus enough to pray for my son, but my prayers seemed common, not good enough to inspire God to go great lengths to keep him safe. I wanted so badly to be that mother who stormed the gates of heaven with prayers to keep her son safe. Instead I couldn’t even form the words.
In my page turning, I found myself reading James 5:16-18. As I read I felt even worse. Did I have to be Elijah to pray effectively? I would never consider myself in the same category of righteousness as him. I thought about these verses, more discouraged than ever. As I did, God brought something to mind that I’d never considered. I remembered that early on in Israel’s history, God had warned them that if they didn’t obey him, he’d withhold blessings, specifically the blessing of rain. I felt hope begin to blossom. I immediately turned to Deuteronomy 11 and there it was–God’s warning that he would shut up the heavens if they turned from him.
My heart leapt. Righteous prayer wasn’t based on my goodness, but on God’s! Elijah’s prayer was effective because he knew God and he just prayed God’s own words back to him. God would always be true to his word. I felt a floodgate of possibilities open up. I could pray Scripture over my son and know that God would hear and answer.
This was a huge turning point for me–not only as a military mom, but in every aspect of my life. I’d love to know how God brought you comfort while your soldier serves.
Edie Melson is a leading professional in the publishing industry. She also knows what it’s like to send a loved one off to war. Her oldest son went from high school graduation, to Marine Corp boot camp, to Iraq; where he served two tours fighting on the front lines as an infantry Marine. Fighting Fear: Winning the War at Home When Your Soldier Leaves for Battle, is Edie’s heart project. Look for her two newest books for military families debuting in 2014: While My Son Serves and While My Husband Serves. You can also connect with Edie on Twitter and Facebook.