Last week I received a letter from a young Marine from our church who is serving in Iraq. Here is part of what he had to say:
How are you doing? As for me it's been one emotional rollercoaster for the recordbooks. I thought bootcamp was rough. Being out here, makes bootcamp a walk in the park. But out something happened to me that finally got me to the point that made me realize that I need to improve my relationship with God. I've been spending alot of time in Psalms. Starting out simple, a chapter at a time. I found out that Psalms is the perfect book to start out in. It's a book of prayers for all kinds of emotions and it's been my backbone for when I was feeling a certain way. It's filled with the ups and downs of the basic emotions that make up life. As I continue to study, I'm venturing into Lamentations, working on being patient and waiting to be guided in His direction. I'm beginning to understand the beauty in waitin. You have to wait for something to change because you're not ready for the change and in that wait you begin to learn why you're not ready for the change. As you begin to realize what you need to change, you begin to learn about your true self and become more mature in your relationship with Christ. It's weird how I came to that. It took a lot of changes for me to learn that waiting is not a bad thing. God has always been good and I thank him for being the way He is. Well I have to go. I can't wait to be home. God bless and Semper Fi.
Here is part of my reply:
Your note put a big smile on my face. Just last week a woman wrote asking me
why she should read the Psalms. My answer to her was not as eloquent as yours. You have discovered that the Psalms are, as one writer put it, "an anatomy of all parts of the soul." What you wrote about waiting is so true. In some ways
it's the hardest discipline of the Christian life because we're all always in such a huge hurry. But God doesn't move at our speed. On one hand, he can speak and a galaxy suddenly appears. So it's not like God is slow. But he doesn't work on our timetable. He works on his own timetable. He's never early and he's never late. By learning that, you've already discovered one of the most crucial truths of the spiritual life. We learn so much through waiting that we wouldn't know any other way.
I'm glad to hear from you and will keep you in my prayers. Keep your eyes on
Jesus and you'll be okay. We're all looking forward to seeing you when you
get back home--hopefully it won't be too much longer.
God's best to you always.
Your pastor and your friend,
To sign up for Pastor Ray's free weekly sermon email list, click here. You can find his daily weblog, online sermons, travel schedule, and other resources at www.keepbelieving.com. You can write Pastor Ray at email@example.com.
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About Dr. Ray Pritchard
Dr. Ray Pritchard is the president of Keep Believing Ministries, in Internet-based ministry serving Christians in 225 countries. He is the author of 27 books, including Stealth Attack, Fire and Rain, Credo, The Healing Power of Forgiveness, An Anchor for the Soul and Why Did This Happen to Me? Ray and Marlene, his wife of 37 years, have three sons-Josh, Mark and Nick, two daughters-in-law--Leah and Vanessa, and two grandsons--Knox and Eli. His hobbies include biking, surfing the Internet, and anything related to the Civil War.
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