I heard yesterday that Aussie troops have pulled out of Afghanistan, leaving the war behind. There are some 400 who will remain, but they are not going to be in the danger zone where the killing and the maiming of civilians and troops alike took place over the last years, ever since 2001.
The troops are making their way home for Christmas. Can you imagine the joy around some Christmas family tables next week, where the returned heroes are the centre of attention? How the families must have longed for their sons and daughters to be released from the fray and be on the journey home so many times.
But I do have to wonder…how will the next months, even years, play out for these people who have been subject to the horrors of war and active service, who have been separated from friends and loved ones for in some cases months and often years at a time? Is there going to be a problem for some of them with Post War Syndrome, or Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome? When the Christmas things are packed away and life returns to what it was like before…
Have you ever been in a situation of extreme stress, then left that part of your life in order to resume a so-called ‘normal’ life?
Sometimes you can feel battered beyond recognition, bruised in your emotions to the point where it’s hard to even feel for a while. It’s not unusual, you know. These returned soldiers may feel after the Christmas decorations are put away and all the Christmas cake and festival foods are eaten, that they are still in battle. And sometimes when we’ve been through a ‘big season’ in our lives, we feel the same.
I wrote a book about someone who had Post War Syndrome, and who, because of his inability to relate due to the shattering of the war experience in his life, continued to live within the virtual confines of a prisoner of war camp, long after he was released.
“There’s a war been declared over our lives. It’s one that will take us to the very ‘edge’ if we will let it.” (check out where this quote came from)
So often we can think that when the war is over, the troops come home, all is well with the world. But it’s not like that is it? We are in a ‘war’ everyday. The big, stress-filled experiences of life want to shoot us down and take us out.
Are you ready to face the enemy now, all guns blazing, or are you beating the retreat with haste, defeated and downtrodden in the wake of the battle? Are you able to pick yourself up after your experience and resume life, filled now and shaped by the richness of the life-story that you’re living…with every moment beating in you like the adrenalin that courses through the body in battle? Or have you been left defeated, drained and downtrodden?
Here’s a thought from Psalm 86:
“Listen closely to my prayer O Lord,
Hear my urgent cry.
I will call to you whenever trouble strikes,
And you will answer me”.
So often I hear of good people being ‘taken out’ by the circumstances of life. Unable to forget, unable to forgive, unable to move on. The emotions can rule us, or….. and yes, there is an alternative, the spirit within us can rule.
So making the spirit strong and able to sustain may just be our answer. And the question, you ask? It’s this: how do I remain strong and get on with life with all its fullness after I’ve been knocked around by life? By calling out for help!
Spiritual things and the spiritual life are as important to us as human beings as anything that we live through, live for or live out.
Coming ‘home’ for Christmas is the ultimate homecoming, of course.
It is the dream for every wearied soldier in the battle. It’s the song we sing in this season….
Michael Buble may sing about it being “if only in my dreams”…but the reality is that homecoming to Jesus is what will strengthen us in every area of our lives, and be the central fibre of our lives if He is allowed to walk with us. Through the battles, the storms, and the experiences that affect us negatively. And it’s seriously the real thing…the relationship that never lets us down, the one who never leaves, the promise that never fades or wearies us.
I know one thing. I’ll be home for Christmas.SUBSCRIBE with email or RSS