HomeNewsCommentariesDisplay

June Chaplain's Reflections

U.S. Air Force Capt. Matthew Gray, a chaplain assigned to 169th Fighter Wing, at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., Feb. 6, 2018. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Megan Floyd)

U.S. Air Force Capt. Matthew Gray, a chaplain assigned to 169th Fighter Wing, at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., Feb. 6, 2018. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Megan Floyd)

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. --

Hello Swamp Fox family! This drill I’d like to tell you a story about a great theologian. His name is St. Augustine and he lived from 354-430 AD. There is a story of him walking along the seashore one morning, contemplating God. While walking he suddenly saw ahead of him a little child playing. The child had made a hole in the sand, and was walking back and forth between the hole and the ocean. He held a little shell in his hands. When he reached the ocean, he would fill the shell up with water. Then he would carefully carry it back and pour the water into the hole. He kept on doing this. After a while, St. Augustine asked what he was doing. The child answered, "I am going to empty the sea into that hole, which I have dug in the sand." St. Augustine laughed out loud. Then he said, "Child, that is quite impossible. Look how big the ocean is, and how small your hole is!" The child looked at him and answered, "And yet, it would be easier for me to do this than for you to understand the mystery of God." And with that, the child disappeared.

In our work and in our lives, especially these last few months, we may have felt as though we are trying to empty the ocean into a tiny hole…an impossible task for us. But for God, anything is possible! With his help we can do anything and have. Over the past three months we have maintained our 24/7/365 homeland defense mission; participated in Operation AMERICAN RESOLVE by flying over 70 hospitals with six jets in two hours AFTER accomplishing a full-up combat training sortie; We flew the most sorites of any fighter unit in the ANG; We’ve welcomed home our Airmen as they returned from deployment; Swamp Fox families in financial or medical need have been cared for; our Airmen have been recognized nationally for the work they’ve done in the COVID-19 response; and we have done all of this by finding new and innovative ways to operate remotely from our homes!

We are truly a force to be reckoned with when others might have thought the task impossible. St. Paul, a warrior himself, says “….If God is for us, who can be against us!” (Romans 8:31). How true that is! No enemy visible or invisible standing before us, is greater than the God who stands behind us. And yet, you may feel the need for some R&R in the fresh air to reenergize after staying at home. The Chaplain Corps will be hosting an outdoor adventure hike along the Chattooga River on the Foothills Trail in the upstate June 27-28. We will camp at Burrells Ford Campground and hike to King Creek Falls, a beautiful 70 foot waterfall. There, and at camp, we will cover the Strong Bonds Speed of Trust for Military Members. This camping and hiking adventure is open to all military members and, if married, their spouses. Hiking will be “moderate” and not recommended for children under the age of 16. If interested you may contact me at Samuel.m.gray6.mail@mail.mil during drill or frgray@charlestondiocese.org the rest of the month. I will then send you a registration link.

My prayer for you is that you remain strong, healthy, and happy. I encourage you to cling to your faith most especially in difficult times knowing that, while you may feel the task set before you to be impossible, it is not. With God’s help, anything is possible! He has carried us through this far and he will continue to do so.