With a group of military wives in a Bible study on Friday morning, I wondered out loud how our deployed service members ever got used to so much sand-color—that it all must be “very beige” in the desert. A soldier’s wife quickly corrected me with a rebuke — “Oh, Linda, you’re wrong! My husband tells me that he has never seen such beautiful sunrises and sunsets. And the stars—oh my . . . he tells me that at night he has never seen so many stars!!”
Excellent or Praiseworthy is posted on Monday and Thursday nights.
“They are not just idle words for you—they are your life.” — Deuteronomy 32:47a
Recently my husband and I were with a group of military couples attending a marriage seminar. During one session, I had some time with just the wives, and I encouraged them to go to Psalm 139 whenever they felt lonely—to Psalm 145 whenever they felt hopeless—James 1 whenever they felt discouraged . . . and so on. The truth is—the Bible has the answers to whatever we need.
Because this is true, Zondervan Publishing wants to honor you as military wives with a special devotional Bible. They called on Jocelyn Green (faithdeployed.com) to edit this much-needed publication. Jocelyn writes in the Foreword, “ . . . I couldn’t be more thrilled that you have picked up this Bible. If what you want—what you desperately crave—is a faith that shields you, a hope that sustains you, and a peace that defies the stress of your lifestyle, there is simply no substitute for the Word of God . . . The Bible is powerful, living and active; it is sharper than any two-edged sword. And it is relevant to you. Amazingly, wonderfully and undeniably relevant.”
The devotional Bible contains the New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs—along with 60 devotions written by “veteran women of God who have walked where you walk as the wife of a military man.” There are also 30 stories told about heroines on the American home front which aptly illustrate a biblical principle. The purpose is that “these features will deepen your faith and enrich your personal relationship with Jesus Christ.”
Here are some excerpts which will strengthen your heart and encourage you to delve into this material:
- Marshele Carter Waddell writes about Matthew 10:28 in its application to her prayer life for her husband deployed as a SEAL. She says, “Though I prayed for my husband’s physical safety many times a day, I never knew to pray for his mind. But the war came home with him, lodged in his spirit as an invisible wound” (p. 15). She gives these guidelines: “1) Pray according to the Word of God; . . . 2) Pray with authority and confidence; . . . 3) Ask the Holy Spirit to pray through you; . . .4) Refuse to live in fear and doubt; . . . and 5) Believe God (p. 15).”
- My contribution comes from Romans 12:12-13 describing the character of God in a Christian home. I share the story of a little girl telling about the family’s search for housing at a new military assignment with this: “Oh, we have a home. We just haven’t found a house to put it in!” (p. 188). Taking the Apostle Paul’s challenge to “be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer, share with the Lord’s people who are in need, and practice hospitality” (p. 188), I apply these points to military life.
- Bettina Dowell likens I Timothy 4:7-8 to the training experienced in military life. She says, “What did my training look like? Extended deployments. Stressful working conditions for my husband. One in three 24-hour duty rotations. Lack of communication from my husband due to the ship’s extended travels at sea. PCS moves. Orders that were delayed, changed, canceled or enacted at the last minute. Being hundreds of miles away from family for the first time in my life. All these things provided training for me, even though I did not recognize it at the time” (p. 259). She adds, “As a young bride, I thought the military just wanted to make our lives miserable. . . What I failed to see at the time was that God was using each and every stress to help me mature. The maturity of learning to trust God, even when my life circumstances were far from what I wanted them to be, was beneficial not only in our early days together but also throughout our marriage” (p. 259).
- Jocelyn Green, the General Editor for this project, adds perspective in many of the “heroine” stories from past war-time conflicts. In “The Heroine of Gettysburg” she tells of Elizabeth Masser Thorn . . . a German immigrant who served our country valiantly during the Civil War as the caretaker of Evergreen Cemetery—preparing the graves for many killed during the battle of Gettysburg. Her sacrificial diligence illustrated Hebrews 6:10: “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them” (p. 276).
- Ronda Sturgill begins her writing on Psalm 77 with: “As I read Psalm 77, all I can think of are the many nights I have lain awake in distress, calling out to God. My desperate pleas and prayers on behalf of my family seemed at times to fall on deaf ears . . . But the author of Psalm 77 made a conscious decision to remember the deeds of the Lord. He looked beyond his present troubles and decided to remember the miracles of long ago . . . As the psalmist did this, his troubled spirit was transformed from hopeless to hopeful . . . Perhaps if I remember what God has done for me, my troubled spirit will be transformed as well” (p. 388). Having met Ronda, I can testify that God’s faithfulness has indeed given her assurance and encouragement during many challenging times—and she serves as a model for many military wives.
These are just a few of the devotions offered as lessons in godliness for today’s military wives. Jocelyn concludes her Foreword with this charge: “Just as surely as a physical enemy attacks our military, the enemy of your soul will attack you. The Bible is both your protection and your weapon. Read it, dwell in it, pray it, wield it. Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.”
Green, Jocelyn, General Editor, NIV Military Wives’ New Testament with Psalms & Proverbs (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2013).
Questions to Share:
1. Where do you turn for help during troubled times?
2. How can you encourage each other to turn to the Bible for answers to the questions of life?