Pathways through Lent

God’s Abiding Presence

Psalm 107:33–43 Exodus 2:23–3:15 1 Corinthians 13:1–13 Mark 9:14–29

Immersed in the innermost workings of the Pentagon and almost three years after my last deployment, it is easy to become disconnected from the very real knowledge of our engagement in Afghanistan and Iraq. However, as I walk through Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, war becomes very real—I see in every hallway the sacrifices of many young soldiers, sailors, and airmen, most who have required at least one amputation.

As I look at them, I imagine how their lives have changed. Will they ever be the same? Even the small tasks must be hard. I have so many questions: Have they been discharged? What will their career path be now? Where is home after Walter Reed? I imagine so many things that are probably not the same as they once were.

Then I see a pickup truck pull up in the garage. A young soldier, a double- leg amputee, gets out of the driver’s seat. He makes his way around to the passenger side and helps his infant and toddler out of the truck. Cradling his infant and holding the hand of his toddler, they smile and giggle their way into the hospital together as a family.

That one instant answered my question. Yes, they will be the same. In them I see the abiding presence of God and how He truly made us to be—loving. Nothing can change that.

This Lent, please hold in your minds, hearts, and prayers all of the military serving abroad. May they know the abiding presence and love of God in their lives.

–Marilyn Jenkins

 Photo by Samantha Quigley
Photo by Samantha Quigley

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