So far, it has taken me nine pages to briefly describe my life to the age of thirty. By the time I was transferred to the Pentagon, I had only been a Christian for two years. The last five and one half years of my Navy career was spent working on the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff's annual state of the military presentation. It was used to compare our military with those of the rest of the world. Each year, after presenting it to the President, it was presented to a joint session of Congress. I updated the data daily, and although it sounds sort of glamorous, I never saw any of the folks for whom it was prepared. Every once in a while, someone up the food chain would send me a Letter of Commendation for my personnel file.
The office where I worked consisted of nine draftsmen from the various services. There were three or four Army, two or three Air Force, and two or three Navy depending on rotation of assignments. At the time of the following story, I believe there were three of each. Our leader was Army, and he had recently returned from assignment in Korea. When he first arrived, he was always playing pranks on us. His favorite was to hide in a person's locker, and jump out when he came to work. Before long, something changed in his demeanor. He became sullen and ceased to do his job as supervisor. It got so bad that he was transferred to another base close by. On his last day, he went around to each of us and shook our hands, making small talk. When he came to me, I was very cold toward him and simply said, "See ya." I saw the hurt look in his eyes, and because God had used me to lead two of the nine to Christ, I knew that he had expected a little more compassion. I was glad he was leaving.
Two weeks passed and we received word that he had killed himself. Apparently he had discovered that his wife had been having an affair the whole time he was in Korea, and the knowledge destroyed his will to live. Had I been a more mature Christian, I might have talked with him about his change in behavior and mood. Instead, I "wrote him off" as a loser and used all my "spiritual energy" on "worthwhile" folks.
That is when God revealed what He thought of my lack of love for him. Of the nine of us, three being Army, they chose me to escort his body from the base morgue to the civilian funeral home. You would think that they would have picked someone from his new base, or at least someone who knew the Army regulations about their uniform, but instead, they chose a Navy guy: me! It was as though God was saying, "You would not treat him with respect while he was alive, so now you can show him the ultimate in respect possible for a fallen soldier." It was a very humbling and painful experience. It was apparent the attitude that Hal Judd had toward me a couple of years earlier was not unique to him, but I had the very same sin nature. How easily we forget the lessons of life and foolishly repeat them! I can't wait until the Lord returns and I am no longer an idiot, but will spend eternity in the likeness of my Savior (1 Jn. 3:2)!