Several months ago, while enjoying a 4th of July dinner with some close friends, my heart was deeply moved by a story of God’s protection that was shared across the table. In fact, I was so moved that I asked permission to share it with you as readers. My hope is that this story will do for you what it did for my own heart: provide inspiration, encouragement, and building of faith. May we always cling to the truth that God alone is our refuge and shelter from all harm.
We all face battles – in the workplace, in our physical health, or in family relationships. Many Americans have even faced actual warfare (alongside our NATO allies) in the sandy environs of Afghanistan. Yet, one truth remains: God alone can faithfully protect us. May your heart be challenged to trust Him today.
Let’s dive in.
Growing up in America’s Bible-belt, I distinctly remember seeing the bumper sticker “God is my Co-pilot” proudly displayed on many vehicles. In my home state of South Carolina, where pickup trucks outnumber cars in many areas, this sticker may have only been slightly more popular than “This Truck Protected by Smith & Wesson”. Although I have never been a huge fan of bumper stickers, those two stickers always made me smile, particularly when I saw them displayed together! However, it always seemed ironic to me that anyone who had already declared God was their co-pilot would feel the need for Smith & Wesson protection.
In my own life and walk with the Lord, I can look back and see God’s supernatural protection upon me. Yet, even though I’ve understood what the Bible says about His protection for a long time, I have certainly still doubted it while going through different circumstances. I’m sure that everyone has been there, which is why I think Jude urges us to “build ourselves up in the most holy faith…looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 1:20). Paul also advises us to “encourage one another in our faith” (1 Thess 5:11).
For me, seeing or hearing God prove the truth of His Word through a personal experience, whether my own or another’s, is an incredible blessing. The Word also says that believers “overcame Satan by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony” (Rev 12:11), which is why I am so excited to share what the Lord did recently in my life.
In addition to my civilian life, I have the honor of serving as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, and eight months ago I was preparing to leave my family for a 6-month deployment to Afghanistan. Up until that point, I had never been on a “combat” deployment, although I had served on active-duty overseas in Europe and Africa. I was fully prepared to go; in the military we spend years training for these opportunities to serve our country. In fact, I had actually volunteered to deploy, not out of any perceived glory of war, but rather for the privilege and responsibility of serving my country and the Afghan people in “Operation Enduring Freedom”, the official name of the 12-year war against terrorism in Afghanistan.
However, as most would imagine, I became more apprehensive as the date for me to leave my pregnant wife and 2-year-old daughter drew closer. While I wasn’t expecting to experience direct combat as a Public Affairs Officer (which my wife was obviously very thankful about), I was going into a region of the world where you were just as likely to be killed by a suicide bomber, rocket attack, or “insider attack” as you were in a conventional firefight. Although the thought of dying overseas didn’t really worry me by itself, the thought of leaving behind a grieving widow and fatherless children who would never really know me scared the heck out of me! My heart began to cry out to God for His protection, and I took comfort in knowing that many of my friends and family were praying for and believing in my safe return.
In recent years I have often prayed the prayer of Psalm 91 over my life and family, but this Psalm took on new significance to me as a result of my deployment. After saying goodbye to my family at the Atlanta airport last December 16th, I began the long, seven day journey to Kabul, which consisted of multiple commercial and military flights along with stops at several military bases on the way.
“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’ Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. ” Psalm 91 continued
On my flight across the Atlantic Ocean, I got up to stretch my legs and happened to notice a book in the magazine holder at the back of the plane. The title of the book, Psalm 91: God’s Shield of Protection, immediately grabbed my attention.
I asked the stewardess if I could borrow the book to read during the flight. She replied, “Take it; it’s yours. Someone left it behind and you’re welcome to it”. Immediately I began devouring the book, which not only unpacks and explains the promises of this amazing Psalm, but also includes miraculous real-life stories of military members supernaturally protected by God in various combat situations while praying this Psalm.
I began to thank God as I felt Him impressing upon me that Psalm 91 was His promise to me, and that I would safely return to my family after this deployment. On Christmas Eve, I finally arrived at my base in Kabul. After speaking to my wife and little girl, from whom I was now so far removed, I went to sleep.
For me, Christmas Day 2013 started off with a “bang” …
Join us tomorrow as we dive into what exactly happened while Patrick was serving overseas. You don’t want to miss the end to this powerful story. Are you currently a subscriber? We would love to have you as loyal reader. Just click HERE to begin receiving daily, encouraging posts sent straight to your inbox.
Meet the Guest Contributor:
Patrick Simmons lives with his beautiful wife and their two precious children in Kennesaw, Georgia, where he works in the finance and media industries. Patrick is also a major in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, and continues to serve as a Public Affairs Officer. He recently deployed to Afghanistan as a U.S. officer on NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) headquarters staff from December 2013 to June 2014. Patrick is passionate about recognizing God’s hand in ordinary life, and he loves seeing others come to Christ through the obedience of His followers in their everyday circumstances.
He can be contacted at email@example.com.
*The story and opinions and conclusions expressed or implied are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Air Force or Department of Defense.
Article Photo provided by: Patrick Simmons