This Too Shall Pass
By Col. David Giammona, CEO of Battle Ready Ministries
Today, on Memorial Day, we'd like to honor our military personnel who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving in the armed forces. In honor of them, we're featuring an inspirational talk that Battle Ready Ministries President and CEO Col. David Giammona gave last week at Fort Benning's National Prayer Luncheon. His talk is below. Here are some remarks he made about it:
This Too Shall Pass
By Col. David Giammona
The year 2003 was the most difficult year of my life for many reasons. It was during the Christmas ball in 2002 that then Major General David Petraeus announced orders for the 101st to deploy to Iraq. I was the family life chaplain at Fort Campbell, but I volunteered to deploy with the division and was told no, that I’d be the last chaplain to go because of my training. So that was disappointment number one.
Then I found out that my son who was infantry in a LRSD unit with the Georgia National Guard was scheduled to deploy at that time as well. For me it was alright to go to war, but my son? Things were just beginning to mount up.
Then I was told I would be the Rear D Chaplain for the Division. If you’d been in the Army more than a day you know how tough it is being back here.
Then things really got tough when causalities started to mount, and I was informed that 17 of our finest were killed in a Black Hawk collision involving two choppers.
Here is the headline: Nov. 16, 2003, MOSUL, Iraq — Two U.S. Black Hawk helicopters plummeted to the ground Saturday in this northern city, killing at least 17 soldiers and wounding five others in the largest single loss of American life in Iraq since major combat ended May 1, the military said.
A captain and I were dispatched to inform one of the spouses of the pilot that was KIA. That is one duty I would not wish on anyone. That particular event has left scars with me to this day.
I would eventually gather a group of gold star spouses that year and walk them through the grief process.
But there was more. Then my wife Esther and I were home when we received a call from my son telling us he and his soldiers had been in a Humvee and hit with an IED while in combat operations, but he assured me he was fine and told me not to worry. He was treated for first-degree burns and released back to his unit. He was awarded the Purple Heart.
We continued to receive casualties, 66 in all that year. This saying granted me the hope I needed that year: “This too shall pass.” I probably prayed more that year than all the others combined, and to tell you the truth, I came out stronger and you can too.
There are some things life cannot take from us no matter what: hope and prayer. If you have hope, you can keep going, and with prayer to the Almighty, you have the ultimate resource.
In life’s struggles, we often wonder how circumstances can change. A simple phrase, such as “This Too Shall Pass,” can bring comfort and sometimes resolution. But why do we find peace and comfort in such a simple phrase? Most people believe that this phrase came directly from the Bible itself. Unfortunately, that is not the case at all.
There are many "stories" or folkloric tales about where this saying has originated. It's best known as coming from King Solomon, who reigned in Israel from 970 to 931 B.C. He was a wise man who was seeking knowledge on how to make a sad man happy and a happy man sad.
He requested from his minister, Benaiah, to bring him a ring with these magical powers. Well, Benaiah searched and searched all over for this ring. Most likely the King knew he would never find it, but Benaiah didn't give up.
He finally went into the slums of Jerusalem and found a craftsman who worked in metal. The craftsman turned to his grandfather with this odd request, who in turn went into his workshop and appeared with a ring.
This gold ring he brought out to the minister to present to the king had this phrase engraved on the inside of the ring, "This Too Shall Pass."
When presented to the King, he was dumbfounded. No one thought there could be such a thing that makes you stop in your path - reflect on the past, the present and the future – and remind you that the state you are in is not going to last forever.
There is another saying that is found in the Bible in the second letter to the Corinthians from the Apostle Paul. He says: “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen”
Never make a permanent decision based on a temporary storm. No matter how raging the billows are today, remind yourself: "This too shall pass!"
T. D. Jakes once said: “Build on past successes, be grateful for what you do have, and know that this, too, shall pass. It's only for the now. Whatever we're facing, it's not forever.”
So, here we are today at a national prayer luncheon at Fort Benning, Georgia having come through the crisis of COVID and now watching for what happens next with Russia and Ukraine and all the intrigue in our world while always being prepared for the next geopolitical event. How shall we proceed?
For this prayer luncheon, I have a few words to leave you hope and pray that this too shall pass. Whatever you are going through and whatever comes your way there is always hope and there is always our God who hears our prayers.
As the Apostle Paul said: “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen”
I think he meant that compared to all of eternity, what we go through now is not to be compared with the hope we have of being with God for all time.
This too shall pass is about perspective; yeah, things may be difficult now, but wait, things will change, and you get to make the choice on how you will respond.
I leave you with this story. It was August of 1985; I was enrolled for my Master of Divinity at Golden Gate Seminary preparing for the chaplaincy. I had been married a few years, had no money and yet I found myself in the registration line behind other students and I could hear the registrar asking each student for the payment of the upcoming semester.
Now $1500 doesn’t seem like a lot of money nowadays, but when you are completely broke $1,500 might as well been $15,000 or $150,000. I thought, what I am doing here and what am I going to tell them when I get up to the front?
I had no clue, but suddenly I found myself in front of the registrar, a stern-looking women, and she asked me for my name. I gulped and began to speak when she said, “Oh, Mr. Giammona, we have received a check for the entire amount for the semester from your home church in Sacramento.”
I was stunned, relieved, and almost fell on the floor. I look back at that episode in my life and chuckle now, but it was then a terrifying experience that prepared me for the days ahead, especially in the U.S. Army.
I could literally tell you numerous stories like that from many years of experiences.
Ladies and Gentlemen, this too shall pass.
Col. David Giammona is an author, writer, and speaker. He’s author of The Military Guide to Armageddon and The Military Guide to Disarming Deception. U.S. Army Chaplain (Col.) Giammona retired in June 2018 after 32 years of military service. His last assignment was the Installation Management Command (IMCOM) in San Antonio, Texas, where he was responsible for religious support on all 75 Army installations around the world. Giammona has been an ordained Assemblies of God minister since 1988. He is a native of Sacramento, California. His education includes a Master of Divinity, Golden Gate Baptist Seminary; Master of Science in Counseling – Marriage/Family Therapy, Columbus State University; and a Master of Strategic Studies (MSS), Army War College. Learn more at www.davidjgiammona.com, www.battle-ready.org and www.battlereadyministries.org.
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Battle Ready Ministries President Col. David Giammona and Vice President Troy Anderson have been speaking at churches and conferences across the country since the release of their #1 bestseller, The Military Guide to Armageddon: Battle-Tested Strategies to Prepare Your Life and Soul for the End Times.
Find out more and how to schedule a Battle Ready Ministries conference at your venue at www.battle-ready.org or by contacting Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com or 949-887-1511.
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With you in battle!
Col. David Giammona
President and CEO
Battle Ready Ministries
P.O. Box 25
Geneva, GA 31810