This is a guest post from Tim Elliot:
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Though an army besiege me, my heart shall not fear; though war rise up against me, yet I will be confident. (Psalm 27: 1, 3)
Faith can certainly be a stronghold for sailors in times of danger, and it's certainly not uncommon to invoke God's blessing when we're afraid. But faith can be more than a stronghold from physical dangers- in an age when an increasing amount of soldier's ailments are “invisible wounds” like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), and mesothelioma symptoms. Navy sailors and veterans can take comfort in the faith that God does indeed have a plan for each of us.
It's unrelentingly sad that sailors who have already given so much for our country, occasionally have a condition like PTSD or TBI placed at their feet afterwards as well. But faith can be a guiding light for veterans' dealing with PTSD and TBI. The most effective treatment for PTSD has been found to be cognitive behavioral therapy, which works to change the way victims think of their trauma and its aftermath. Certainly faith and an understanding of a caring, loving God can help us to re-examine tragedy and trauma and what it means.
Furthermore, on the long road to recovery after a TBI, victims often feel despondent and disconnected and can have behavioral and mood swings as a result of the injury. During these times it can be difficult to remember that Jesus is walking beside you, but God is always there for his flock. It can be difficult to have faith while wondering why this happened to you, but remember faith in God is simply remembering that He loves you and has a plan for you.
Even more tragic and difficult for veterans to deal with can be mesothelioma, a cancer caused by asbestos exposure. Thousands of Navy veterans have been diagnosed with mesothelioma because of the heavy use of asbestos for insulation in Navy ships, and years after their service it may seem like an awful punishment from an uncaring uncaring, unjust universe. Because the symptoms of mesothelioma can take decades to show up it can increase this feeling of injustice- but it's important to remember and have faith in God's plan for each of us. Because the mesothelioma life expectancy is only a little over a year, it's extremely important to keep faith in God.
There's no doubt that some of the circumstances of being a Navy sailor and veteran can be extremely trying on anyone's faith in God- but remember that God made those things in life that are worth fighting for as well, and that He is just and loving. With faith as your shield there should be nothing a Navy sailor should fear.