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January Chaplain's Reflections

U.S. Air Force Capt. Christina Pittman, 169th Fighter Wing Chaplain at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina Air National Guard, poses for her portrait, Jan. 13, 2014.   (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Edward Snyder/Released)

U.S. Air Force Capt. Christina Pittman, 169th Fighter Wing Chaplain at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina Air National Guard, poses for her portrait, Jan. 13, 2014. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Edward Snyder/Released)

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. -- Recently I found myself listening to people talk about current affairs in our country and how uncertain the future looks. As 2017 rolls in and eclipses 2016, I am aware that time goes on and I must keep up with the changes that come my way whether in my work, home or community.  This awareness of an uncertain future can be overwhelming. In these times, I turn to my spiritual strength and I recall a verse which encourages me. I realize from Ezekiel 22:30 that I have a real spiritual tool I can use to "stand in the gap" and that is prayer. Praying for others is the mortar which holds the wall of our lives together as a strong tower for each other. It fills the weaknesses we may not see in ourselves yet we know when our lives are washed in prayer the gaps of our lives are filled and strengthened.

During one of my unit engagements this summer in the hangar, I came across a crew changing the landing gear in one of the F-16 jets. I was invited over to watch this challenging and timely maintenance process. There is so much involved in the procedure of changing the landing gear from start to finish. Each step along the way was evaluated and checked over and over. At one stage the crew chiefs bled the system of air and then hydraulic fluid was added.  The equipment had to operate just right to support the landing gear when it releases or retracts up into the body of the jet. No air gaps or loose bolts could remain which would weaken the functionality of the apparatus. 

As I reflect on my observations that day in the hangar I remembered the point in the job where the tedious process of filling the hydraulic fluid took place. Every bit of air had to be drained so the hydraulic fluid could fill the cylinder leaving no gaps. This is same with the power we all have to strengthen each other by standing in the gap and praying for one another. Prayer works! What would happen if all the air was not released from the landing gear? The system would be weakened and ineffective. Our lives without prayer have similar effects. Praying not just for ourselves, but also praying for the needs of others to include our leadership in the military, state and nation.

The next time worry or fear come to mind and thoughts of current events you may not have control over weaken the mortar holding your life together, remember to "stand in the gap" and pray. Think about prayer for one another as the hydraulic fluid in the landing gear strengthening the mechanism of our lives as it fills every crevasse. The gaps of doubt, fear, discouragement and weakness will decrease in our lives as our spiritual resiliency increases through prayer.

For more information on remaining spiritually resilient, please contact the Chaplain Corps at 803-647-8265 or at our email, usaf.sc.169-fw.list.fal-hc-ang-chaplains@mail.mil. We are praying for our Swamp Fox family!

Please keep a lookout for our upcoming Strong Bonds events this February, April, May and September as well as our Resiliency Training opportunities this year. Have a blessed New Year!