War is difficult to describe. The first thing one realizes upon arrival in a combat zone is that war is nothing like the movies or television shows in America. There is no background music and the story is not over in 120 minutes.
War is marked by days of extreme boredom with moments of extreme excitement. Those moments elevate the human emotions to levels hardly experienced in civilian life. Happiness becomes pure delight, anger turns to rage, and sadness becomes sorrow. On July 15, 2008, I experienced the full spectrum of human emotions. On that day our unit received word, over the radio, that one of our men had been injured in a vehicle accident, as a result of a firefight, in Mosul, Iraq. A few hours after that radio transmission, we learned that Staff Sergeant (SSG) David W. Textor had died. In that moment, war became so very real to me. For the first time, I realized that this was no training exercise, this was no game!
I remember being so angry after this man’s death. Why did God allow such a soldier, with a wife and five kids, to leave this earth so far from home? Even with the passage of time, I cannot claim that I have all the answers. I do not know why some things happen. Life is so cruel sometimes, and the Iraq War did a great job of slapping this fact in my face.
I have come to the realization that there are some things you just can’t learn in life…you learn them in death…the death of others! I came to appreciate the life I have because someone purchased my life by their blood! A soldier, SSG David W. Textor, shed his blood so that I might live a quiet and peaceable life here on earth. In a greater way, my Savior, Jesus Christ, shed his blood so that I might live eternally with Him in heaven. I will always thank God for soldiers, like SSG Textor, and Jesus Christ, my Savior, who gave their lives so that I might live!
The death of SSG Textor was the first of many events in the Iraq War that strengthened my faith and gave me a greater understanding of the awesome God we serve. I now firmly believe, more than ever, that God uses all the events of our lives (good and bad) to bring us into a new and better relationship with Himself. These events teach us that life should be lived for God’s glory, not our own, and proves to us that HE is absolutely sovereign.
In my next two blogs, I want to explore how war, and the death of SSG Textor in particular, helped shaped my understanding of the brevity of life, the glory of God, the finiteness of man, and the sovereignty of God.