2018-11-16 / Chaplain's News

Suffer together

Chaplain (Maj.) Samuel Rico
Signal School Ethics instructor

“Suffer with us as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 2:3)

The apostle Paul employed military imagery to describe life. Most of us can relate. With Veterans Day in view, we remember that when one joins the Armed Forces, one serves to suffer. This includes our families too. “Suffer with us as a good Soldier.”

Paul experienced an unusual amount suffering as he shared the good news of the gospel. As Paul trained his apprentice, Timothy, he encouraged him, not by saying, “Don’t worry son, it will get better.” Instead he said, “Suffer with us a good Soldier.” In regards to expectation management for life, Paul applies a military metaphor to underwrite our hardships. Accordingly, for all us parents out there, it may be wise to consider how we prepare our kiddos (little and big) for the hardships military families endure.

In preparing for future war, military leaders speak of an “austere” and “contested and congested” operating environment. This phenomenon isn’t necessarily new. It’s safe to assume that the ancient Roman battlefields to which Paul alludes were austere. And hand-to-hand combat with swords, spears, and clubs (and the occasional catapult) no doubt created a contested and congested operating environment. Now, most of us won’t be battling life with swords and clubs. But given the extreme ready access to everyone’s life via social media, real-time drone footage, and the speed of news outlets, the information age injects no shortage of confusion and chaos into your cerebellum.

“Suffer with us as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” In the original language, the phrase “Suffer with us,” is one word. It means to share in suffering together as one.

None suffer alone. Whatever the state of the economy, the culture, and society, we must fight for each other, not against each other.

“Suffer with us as a good Soldier.” Such a statement implies the obvious: life is war.

While victory does come at a cost, it is not a bill that we pay on our own. Some of the most costly battles of life are not external; many are internal. Obstacles such as fear, doubt, regret, or anger are often quite difficult to overcome. If you find yourself in such a battle, remember you’re not alone. Go talk to a friend, talk to a family member. Heck, maybe even talk to a chaplain. I for one have battled many an internal foe; if you need someone to process the pain, we want to hear from you.

Prayer: O Lord, when my life and the forces of this world seem disjointed, give us grace to join forces with you and with each other.

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