“Always be prepared to give an answer…for the hope you have…” I Peter 3:15
Captain Jeff Struecker was impressed that a career shift might be in his future the morning after losing 18 close comrades in fierce combat. His “impression” wasn’t for fear of losing his life (as those who had fallen in battle in Mogadishu, Somalia the day before—now made famous in the Hollywood movie Black Hawk Down)…Jeff was deeply “impressed” on that unforgettable morning by the scene just outside his tent.
Jeff was an U.S. Army Ranger– the Army’s most elite fighting Corps. He was trained to problem solve. His training had prepared him to have a quick solution for any difficult situation. But, the day following the deadly battle, Jeff was presented with a scenario that broke his heart. He saw a line of tough Army Rangers outside his tent—these Army Rangers had a question that their training had not provided an adequate answer to.
This is the question these men wanted answered by someone who had exemplified a living faith. They asked: “Jeff, if I had been one of those who had fallen yesterday, where would I be spending eternity?” Jeff had an answer to that question. He had come to faith in Christ years earlier, and he knew these men needed to hear the Gospel of Jesus and the certainty of hope given to those who put their trust in Him!
A Career Shift
It was this scenario that God used in Jeff’s life to re-direct his career with the Army. This event solidified in Jeff’s heart a call to serve God as an U.S. Army chaplain so that he could better equip soldiers to live and to die with the hope of eternal life! Today, Jeff is serving the Lord in active service as an Army chaplain.
While most of us are not “called” as chaplains, we, as God’s ambassadors, are all called to be lights in a dark world, and one of the ways we allow our lights to shine is in tragedy and hardships. We possess the capacity to experience hope in uncertainty, because we know the One who holds the future. Peaceful-hope is a by-product of trusting and entrusting ourselves to God and His gracious handling of the events of our lives. He is God and He is good! He is what (and who) we hold on to! There is always hope in our future when we know and trust Him.
May God grant us the grace to hold fast to him in the hardships of our lives—resulting in peaceful-hope, and may we be prepared to give an answer to those who ask about the certain hope we experience!