Thursday, December 14, 2017

What I’m Fighting For

June 16, 2010 by  
Filed under Monthly Articles

Greater love has no one than this. Than to lay down one’s life for his friends.
–John 15:13-14NKJV

(Editors Note: When Dr. Rachel Coggins received the call to serve overseas, the Army Reservist left a comfortable Georgia home to live in a harsh environment filled with challenge. Assigned to a base called the Gateway, she welcomed military members entering the war zones of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kuwait and then bid them goodbye when it was time to return stateside.

In between those times, Chaplain Coggins listened to the warriors– to their fears, their worries, their heartaches, and sometimes, their joys. She became a confidante to some, a comfort to others, and a friend to still others.

Chaplain Coggins offers a glimpse into a world few civilians ever see. In retelling her experiences, Coggins reveals the struggles that confront today’s war-zone Soldiers and their loved ones, struggles that are often hidden from most Americans. You can buy her book at GatewayToIraq.com)

A basket sits at the front of our office with a pen and slips of paper close by to write out prayer requests.  It is used often.  I check the basket and I return from the briefing and find a prayer request that fills both sides of the small paper.  I take it out and go to my desk to read it and pray.

The note is neatly printed in small block letters.  A private from an infantry company stationed in Baghdad has asked for prayer for his fellow Soldiers who were killed during the surge.  Twelve names are listed, both first and last names.  I am intrigued with the note.  I turn to the computer and log into a webpage on MilitaryCity.com, named Honor The Fallen.  This website lists every military service person who has been killed in action or died while in the war zones of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kuwait.

Typing in the names of the Soldiers on the prayer requests, I am able to find all of them.  Most have a picture, a brief bio, and a newspaper article about the incident.  I paste together the stories and the pictures and print them to commemorate the twelve fallen Soldiers.

They are a group of handsome young men, of varied ethnicity, most between the ages of 18 and 23; the oldest in the group is 31.  I wonder about the young man who has written the prayer request.  I assume he knew them well, because the names are lovingly written and spelled correctly, even though some were very difficult to spell.  Soldiers can become very close to each other.  Many of the young Soldiers, it seems, have few political or worldview idealisms; they fight for each other.

I sit here and contemplate the tragedy of losing twelve close friends, and a wave of sadness flows over me, I pray a silent prayer that only a grieving spirit can pray, and I know my Father hears me.

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