Monday, November 12, 2012


When a sailor shares his reflections on his time in the Navy, they are called "sea stories."  One of mine, inspired by today's Our Daily Bread devotion, has to do with my applying for the classification of Conscientious Objector.  On January 31, 1971, my life had changed forever.  I awoke that Sunday morning, an atheist, but after being drawn by the God to sit through three hours of Christian programming (Jn. 6:44), I knelt in my living room and placed my total trust in Jesus Christ.  Two days later, I was seated in the Navy Personnel Office applying for a discharge, because I believed it was inconsistent for a Christian to be in the military.  I had absolutely zero Bible knowledge, but in my mind, if I was to be like Christ, I could not take part in a military organization.

The next evening, Wednesday, I randomly picked a church out of the Yellow Pages, and called to find out what classes I needed to take in college so that I could go to seminary.  There was music playing in the background, and the Pastor told me services were starting; he would have to call me back.  When he did, the first thing he said was, "Do you know Hal Judd?"  Hal, a man I had ridiculed for his faith in Christ, had testified that the young atheist for whom the church had been praying, had accepted Christ.  I had seen Chief Judd the previous day while applying for C.O., and had told him of my decision.  By "coincidence," I had called Hal's church!

The Pastor wanted to meet me so I accepted his invitation to meet him the next night at Dunkin' Donuts.  When he arrived, he had a couple other fellows with him.  He said that I should go with one of them.  I do not recall his name, but I was more than willing to accompany him on what turned out to be a home visit to a shut-in.  The man turned out to be a Major in the Marine Corps, a member of their church, and who was recovering for surgery.  The man I was with sat quietly, saying nothing.  So, I told them both how the Lord had saved me the previous Sunday, and that I had applied for a discharge as a C.O.  When I finished, the Marine asked if he could show me what the Word of God had to say about Christians serving in the military.  In less than fifteen minutes, I realized my error, and the following day, I withdrew my application.  Ironically, although I attended that church for over two years, I never saw the Major again.  For all I know, he might have been an angel used to "school" an over-zealous baby Christian.  I served eight more years, retiring in 1978.  I am so thankful God was, and is, directing me as He makes me more and more like His dear Son (Phil. 1:6).
Veterans serve their nation; Christian veterans serve their nation for the Lord!        

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