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April Chaplain's Reflections

  • Published
  • By Capt. Christina Pittman
  • 169th Fighter Wing
SCANG News Chaplain's Reflection Article
April 2016

Ch. Capt. Christina Pittman
"Faith in a Foxhole"

Have you ever wondered what makes a person call out to God in the midst of a crisis or emergency? For instance, in war there are many stories of triumphs through prayer and miracles from God found on the battle field. I heard of one such story from the keynote speaker at the NGASC conference in Myrtle Beach, S.C. this year. U.S. Marine Corps. 1Lt. (Ret.) Clebe McClary shared his first-hand account of when he faced his mortality on the war fields of Vietnam. He shared how in his crying out to God, faith got him through and continues to be an anchor in he and his wife, Deanna's life. In situations of desperation, faith can restore the soul and turn chaos into order.

As military members there is no guarantee we will be spared from danger. When we say the oath of office it is a sworn obligation to be committed to our leaders and nation through peace time and war time.  Sometimes when we think about the dangers, we may encounter the reality does not hit until we are face to face with life and death. On McClary's nineteenth recon patrol as a platoon leader in Vietnam, he encountered an enemy attack where he found himself in a make shift foxhole made by the explosion of a hand grenade, praying for his life and the hope to see his young wife again. With one eye blown out, another covered by a tattered hand and a missing left arm, McClary faced the fact he may not make it out alive.

Sometimes we hit rock bottom in our own foxholes. When life hits like a grenade, where is your faith? Having a faith can strengthen spiritual resiliency to face life and the uncertainties of military service. Through courage and determination, McClary lived to see his wife again and also faced over 30 surgeries to mend his body. The remarkable piece of this journey is his endurance through faith in God to see he and his wife through the struggle of life changing events. He praised Deanna for sticking by him through the ups and downs of his injuries and the effects of war, like PTSD, which challenged their relationship.

The hope of a rescue from a crisis is one reason a person calls out to God for help. When life hits and you call out to God, as your life lies shattered in pieces around you, remember faith and hope can put those chaotic pieces in order to make your life a beautiful tapestry.  As in McClary's life, the beauty of faith is not just in the rescue but the journey of hope to put all the pieces back together. Do not give up in your foxhole no matter how much you are wounded. Call out and look around you for those God sends in your path to extend a hand and pull you out.  You are worth the effort!

Read more about 1Lt. (Ret) Clebe McClary's story on his website

If your Chaplain Corps can help you on your journey of faith and hope, please let us know. 

We are standing ready to extend a helping hand to pull you up. (803) 647-8265.