It has been over 55 years since I first landed in Saigon, Vietnam as a young Army Second Lieutenant. After three days in the country he was transferred to Pleiku in the Central Highlands to join the ranks of the 3rd Battalion, 6th Field Artillery.
For the next six months, I was assigned as a forward observer at Battery Bravo, working with the 1st Cavalry Division and units of the Republic of Vietnam Army, and later with the 4th Division when it was first deployed. During those months, we were all demonically exposed to Agent Orange.
I was well aware that Agent Orange and other chemicals were sprayed on dense foliage throughout Vietnam, but I was completely unaware of the hazards associated with breathing and exposure to such toxic substances. . We were simply there on a mission and did our best to protect South Vietnam from a North Vietnamese communist takeover.
I had no idea that there would be a silent enemy among us who would later haunt many of us in the countryside.
The first threat from this silent enemy was the discovery of skin cancer on his forehead before he voluntarily resigned indefinitely from the commission in 1970. Over the next 50 years, I battled many cancerous growths, fortunately not melanoma.
Yet, in all of the dozen or more surgical procedures to remove the cancerous growths, they all pale in comparison to my prostate problems over the past five years.
Through it all, I now embrace Agent Orange and others. al. — I prefer to simply call it “whatever life throws at me.” And yes, this world is very brutal. We all have to face the reality of bad things as we go through life.
I often turn to the Book of Job for solace. Job was a righteous man, he faced more adversity than any man ever lived, but he remained faithful to his Heavenly Father. And God blessed his faithfulness.
My Lord has prepared me well for all that lies ahead. Remembering that he played in organized baseball for over a decade, he realized he never expected what the pitcher would throw on the next pitch. I simply focused on the ball and made a proper swing. If it wasn’t for the strike, I should have let it go.
My goal was to get on base for the team. The Christian life is no exception. Every day we must step on the plate and be prepared for what life throws at us.
Consider the words of the apostle Paul in Philippians 3:13-14. But one of the things I do is he forgets what’s behind and strains for what’s ahead and wins the prize God called me to heaven in Christ Jesus. To do so, it is to push forward toward a goal. ”
Paul certainly suffered greatly when he tried to please Christ. We must seek the same prize, no matter what the cost.
Like Paul, I have come to understand that my petty afflictions (compared to others) are given as “thorns in the flesh.” He chooses to keep me in this world.
It pleases our Lord to accept whatever comes our way, and we are confident that our obedience will bring His light into the immense darkness of this present world. !
place to ponder
» Job 42:1-5
» 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
» Romans 12:1-2
» Hebrews 12:2-3
— Jim Langley has been writing for over 30 years while working as a life and health insurance agent in Santa Barbara. In recent years his passion has turned to writing about his personal relationship with God, and his goal is to encourage others to draw closer to God as well. As a longtime member of the CBMC of Santa Barbara (Christian Business Men’s Connection), he began writing his Q4 strategy column in 2014 and now he writes for CBMC International Mondays through his manna devotional. Reaching audiences around the world.he can be contacted at [email protected] for more information. Click here for past columns. The opinions expressed are his own.