Celebrating and commemorating our veterans. United States military veterans and their families.

No such thing as an atheist in a foxhole? – Gig Line #15

GIG LINE

By Marsha M. Brown

Have you ever heard the saying, “There is no such thing as an atheist in a foxhole”? It’s a pretty profound statement, don’t you think? I’ve tried to research the origin of the quote but to date haven’t been able to determined who said it first. 

The statement is significant about the role of faith in the lives of many of our service men and women. In fact, I’ve spoken with more believers than non believers who have served or who currently serve in the United States military today.

Case in point – May 2010, Billy and I went to the Lifeway Christian Store in Chesapeake, VA to buy a Bible for someone who had suffered severe, traumatic injuries. We wanted our love gift to be personal in nature, so we requested Lifeway to engrave the cover. In providing the necessary information for the inscription and while consummating the sale, we noticed a display behind the register. Its back drop was of a military nature. The theme boasted camouflage and was a bit crowded with stacks of small boxes…like a magnet, it drew us in.

When I asked the cashier what it was all about, she kindly told me it was an “Operation Worship Bible” display and that the Bibles were $5.00 each. Because it was obvious they were designated for a special purpose, I in turn asked, “What do you do with them once they’re purchased?” She responded, “Once you buy it, you’re welcomed to write an inscription on the inside cover if you want. Some people provide their names and addresses; others don’t.” She explained that after writing a note inside, the customer would give it back to her and the Bible would be sent to our troops. She said more than likely it would be sent overseas “to Iraq or Afghanistan”. Without further hesitation, we bought one. Then I found a makeshift chair, perched myself on it and wrote a 2 page note (you know how longwinded I can be).  

Inside the cover on the blank pages and in the margins too, I wrote that we hoped the “Operation Worship Bible” would mean as much to whom ever got it as Billy’s Bible had meant to him while he served in Vietnam. We hoped it would land into the hands of someone who loved the Lord or someone whose life might be touched by it; that comfort would emit from the pages of the little bound collection of extraordinary words and that the receiver would be safe traveling to their assignment area. Regardless, we knew it would meet its ‘intended’ destination.

I wrote thanking the person whom we didn’t know, for their service to our country. I told them we would be praying for them. My eyes filled with tears and I felt sort of dumb sitting in a store with tears rolling. People walking by looked at me kind of funny but I didn’t care. I thought of how special the recipient of this gift would be somewhere serving our country and I hoped we’d hear back from them. Who would get it? Would it be a man or a woman? It remained to be seen.

After including our names and address, I handed over the small yet gigantic treasure to the cashier. The pages were filled with God’s word. The hand written words of tribute for my sweet husband also honored our mystery recipient. The lady behind the counter said the little box would be on its way…somewhere very soon. Billy and I were glad. It was just a little thing, you know? Not expensive but so worthy, so special. And as much as we hoped it would be a blessing to the person who received it, it was truly a bigger blessing to us.

Not long after that, we got a letter in the mail. It was a thank you note written from the “recipient” of the little box. And guess what? She was a 23 year old PFC in basic training as a combat medic trainee. She was stationed at Fort Jackson, South Carolina and she was being deployed to Afghanistan in December for 14 months. Her words deeply touched our hearts, especially when she said, “Prayer is what is going to get me through the next two years”. She went on to say “Your Bible is going with me everywhere I go.” “I find myself reading the message you wrote every night before bed.” “During training now, it never leaves my cargo pocket”. She also expressed a desire to communicate with us again in the future. It was so nice to hear from her and we felt blessed.

That little gesture of our faith – passed on to a stranger of faith also traveled many miles away. Hopefully it has traveled many miles back with her to the U.S. and she’s safe and sound. We hope so. We pray so.

God bless America. God bless our troops, wherever they may be. Faith is forever and for everyone; it is free; it is something to embrace and treasure. Any time we can show our military, regardless if they’re at home or abroad, that we support them, love them, honor and pray for them…it’s a wonderful thing. Regarding our new friend, we’ll keep you posted!

Our next Dare County Veterans Advisory Council meeting is scheduled for Thursday, June 28th, 2012 at 6:00 PM – Rm. 168 at Dare County Administrative Building. Everyone is invited to join us and we hope to see you there!  Remember to write to me at [email protected] . Until next time, be happy, be proud and stay tuned…

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