Monday, September 11, 2006


It's been a rough couple of weeks. We had to bury a couple of our own. There is nothing I can say to describe the sorrow.

I searched for something that could begin to express what it feels like to lose someone you love. I found part of a poem written from the perspective of a woman who believes she has lost her husband. Her cries are haunting, and her expression unforgettable.

Song of Solomon tells a story of two people very much in love, a husband and a wife. The wife falls asleep and dreams that her beloved had gone. Her dream had become a nightmare as she realizes he is gone from her and feels her loss.

SS 5:6 I opened to my beloved, but my beloved had turned and gone. My soul failed me when he spoke. I sought him, but found him not; I called him, but he gave no answer.

Her heart had been ripped apart at the prospect of being without the one she loves. And, nothing on this earth could console her while she was apart from him.

All we can think about is summed up in those words of Solomon… I opened to my beloved, but my beloved had turned and gone. We opened our eyes on Tuesday and a man we laughed with, a man we fought beside, a man we loved, a man who seemed to bring so much joy and happiness to the table was gone. There are no words that can express the panic, the sense of emptiness and an overall sense that something important was lost forever. And, nothing on this earth could console us now that he was gone.

In the poem I read the wife did not really lose her husband, his absence was only a nightmare. The loss she felt was as real to her as anything in her life. Her heart recognizes the absence of her God. If you look back to the previous verses you see that she had turned him away, and the hurt she felt was because God was no longer to be a comfort to her.

Her peace that came from knowing his presence left with him. Her only hope for quieting her heart and regaining that peace that comes with his presence was to invite his return. The pain she felt served to remind her of the impact His presence made upon her life. Because she hurt she knew that He was important to her.

In the words of Charles Spurgeon, "The happiest condition of a Christian out of heaven is to live in the conscious enjoyment of the presence of the Lord Jesus. When the love of Christ is in the heart by the Holy Spirit, the believer is the most fortunate of all creation. It does not matter what sorrow you endure; the Holy Spirit is able to make the heart live above all surrounding circumstances, so that we can have summer in the midst of winter, and pluck our ripest fruits when there are neither leaves nor fruits upon the tree.

But the Christian is unhappy whenever he loses the sense of the presence of his Lord. Then the pillars of his house are made to tremble; his fresh springs are dried up; the sun is hid from his eyes; and the sky is so dark overhead that he walks, rather wanders, about and nothing can bring him comfort. If he was of the world he could live in the world, but having been taught by grace to look for something better, the loss of that is especially difficult.

I question whether the most of Christians do not sometimes lose the enjoyment of the Lord's company. I question yet further, whether there are not very many professors who live contentedly under that loss; nor can I account for this, except on the supposition that they can have known but little of that presence their best estate. Otherwise, they must be in a most sickly and slumbering condition of soul, gradually becoming worse and worse; or else they never could bear to have things as they are with them.
It seems to me that a real believer in a sound state of health no sooner loses the presence of his Lord than he begins to cry for him. Where has Christ gone? Why have I lost sight of him? The sounds of his footsteps still linger in the ear. The believer wakens and starts, and asks himself, "How is this? Where has my Beloved gone? What is it that has chased him from me? I cannot live if he leave me; therefore, let me speedily seek him, and never rest until once more I am restored to full communion with him." Let me, then, talk a little with such believers as have lost for awhile the comfortable presence of their Lord."

Would you notice if the presence of God departed from your life? How important isthata to you?

Friday, September 01, 2006

100 feet over Baghdad

I flew into Baghdad yesterday. We came in to town to bring some soldiers around to see some of the green zone. It was early in the morning so I was a little tired as we left. I started to doze off some when I was shaken awake by the sound of flared being fired off of the chopper. I looked out and saw that we were over Baghdad. Many of the buildings were either destroyed or seriously damages. With very few exceptions all the buildings were tan in color. I don't know if they were designed that way or if it was from a lot of dust. Either one would not have surprised me. Overall I was surprised how rundown the city looked.
Anyway we landed in Baghdad and went around and visited some of the Iraqi monuments in the area. Our first stop was the hands of victory and the famous review stand where we see Saddam review his troops and shoot off his AK. The parade stand had been looted and vandalized. Many windows had been broken and graffiti had been sprayed all over. Looks like it once was a nice place. I was impressed by the unique architecture.
We then went to see the hands of victory. Our tour guide told us it was made from items taken from the Iran-Iraq war. He said that swords were forged from the weapons of fallen Iraqi soldiers,and the base of the monument is covered with the helmets of fallen Iranian soldiers. The speed bumps on the road were also made from Iranian helmets. The monument bothered me. I can't imagine how anyone could make a national tribute out of captured war trophies.
From there we went to the tomb of the unknown soldier. It was made in the shape of a falling Iraqi soldiers shield. Under the shield there was a model representing the 7 layers of heaven. Under the monument there was a museum which was empty except for cases where something should be.
Finally we went to eat lunch in one of Saddam's palaces. We ate and looked around the palace. It was the first palace I have ever been in, really nice. We finished up with a swim in Saddam's pool.
We flew out that night and I got another glimpse of Baghdad from 100 feet. I noticed that there is a huge difference between Saddam's part of Baghdad and the part I flew over. I guess many cities are like that, but this disparity seemed so extreme. I realize that there should be something important to say here but I'm all out of things to say.