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Will God Really Direct My Life?
By Col. Scott McChrystal, Battle Ready Ministries Board Advisor
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“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6, NIV).
These verses constitute one of the most powerful promises in the Bible. Like many of God’s promises, there are conditions. Notice what we’re required to do if God is going to make straight paths for us to follow:
Trust in the Lord with all our heart.
Don’t lean on our own human understanding.
Submit to God’s will.
And yet, tough circumstances can erode our trust until it seems almost impossible to claim this promise. The conditions are too hard. Sometimes, we find ourselves asking God if He really knows and understands what we are facing in life. At such times, we need a fresh witness of God’s truth as experienced through the life of another believer.
Recently, I had the privilege of hearing Chaplain (Major General) Lorraine Potter, USAF (Retired), speak to a group of military chaplains, many of them women. Years ago, I became friends with Chaplain Potter when she visited our task force in Bosnia. She was the first female military chaplain to attain general officer rank. She impressed me as being a dynamic leader.
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As she spoke at [NAME OF EVENT ON DATE], I could only imagine how inspirational her words were to the women in her audience. No doubt—many were thinking what a glorious path God had provided for the general. They were likely wondering if the Lord might do something similar in their lives.
Chaplain Potter drew back the curtain on her life to provide a glimpse of her journey. Not only was she the first female military chaplain to become a general officer (to include holding the office of Chief of Chaplains for the United States Air Force), but she was also the first female military chaplain, period—a true pioneer.
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She faced enormous resistance from many sides. A few senior military chaplains tried to stonewall her progress. God intervened. But the challenges continued. Until she retired, she never escaped the scrutiny and criticism of skeptics (including some women) who believed the military chaplaincy was no place for a woman.
Surely Chaplain Potter’s life would get easier as she rose through the ranks. Didn’t happen. Some of her toughest times occurred when she wore two-star rank. But the tone of her message was in no way negative or pessimistic. Just the opposite. She wanted to inspire and to educate, and she did both with excellence.
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First and foremost, she exalted God, stressing that with Him nothing is impossible. In response, I saw hope and joy light up faces in the audience, especially among the female chaplains. Most inspiring!
The last part of her message hammered home three truths she had gleaned from her service to God as a military chaplain.
You will be challenged. Expect challenges, prepare for them, and face them with faith, competence, and boldness as a servant for God. Do this with humility.
Seek truth and guidance before acting. Don’t respond with a quick trigger finger before you have learned as much of the truth as you can about a situation. Try to discern both the what and the why before deciding how you will respond. Use economy of force; don’t blow people away with angry words and a harsh tone. Level-headed dialogue with those who disagree is the only way to make progress in most situations.
Don’t face challenges alone—use a teamwork approach. It has been said that if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
With stories that brought tears to many in the audience, Chaplain Potter gave powerful examples of each truth. She reminded us of the power of power of teamwork, highlighting several instances to drive home her point.
My big take-away from her message was not whether God always knows our situation, but rather do we know God—His love, amazing power, wisdom, and sovereign control over everything in the universe.
She concluded her message with Proverbs 3:5-6, a promise that her mom had taught her when Chaplain Potter was 5 years old.
What about you? Does God see what you are going through? Does He see your life clearly and everything you are up against? Absolutely.
If you will continue to put your trust in Him, He will make your paths straight and fulfill the wonderful plan He has for you.
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Chaplain (Col.) Scott McChrystal, Ret.
Chaplain (Col.) Scott McChrystal was commissioned in 1970 and served 31 years on active duty, 10 as an infantry officer and the remainder as a United States Army chaplain. His line officer experience included a tour in Vietnam as an Infantry Platoon Leader and three assignments with the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. His final assignment was as the senior chaplain at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. He retired from active duty in 2005 and served as the Military/VA Representative and Endorser within the Chaplaincy Department for the General Council of the Assemblies of God from 2005-2019. His decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Award, the Bronze Star, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Master Parachutist Badge, and the Army Ranger Tab. His education includes a Master of Business Administration Degree, a Master of Divinity Degree, a Doctor of Ministry Degree, and graduation from The United States Army War College. In recent years, he and his wife have written several Christian devotionals. In addition, Scott co-authored a Christian action-novel and served as the managing editor for the The Warrior’s Bible, an application Bible for the military community. He presently serves as the Executive Liaison for The Warrior’s Journey, a non-profit organization that supports the military community. He’s also a member of the Distinguished Advisory Board for Battle Ready Ministries. He and his wife, Judy, live in Springfield, Missouri, and have 4 children and 12 grandchildren.