Healing Wounded Warriors
"Naaman was the commander of the army of the king of Syria. But though Naaman was a mighty warrior, he suffered from leprosy." - 2 Kings 5:1
My grandfather Hebert Cordes Braid (pictured below) was a Pearl Harbor survivor. He was a gunner's mate aboard the U.S.S. Phoenix when the Japanese fleet attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 - a day that Franklin Roosevelt said would "live in infamy". Gramps quickly rose through the ranks of the Navy. He was commissioned an officer in 1944 and he made a career of military service. He retired as a Commander with 30 years of service to his country. My Gramps is a hero.
But Gramps was a quiet hero (most heroes are). The only member of my family that he ever shared his Pearl Harbor story with was me. When I was 19, we spent the Christmas holiday at my grandparents' house. I was perusing his collection of military books when he grumbled at me from across the room: "Watcha looking at over there?" When I told him I was looking at a book about Pearl Harbor, he said to bring it to him so he could tell me all about it. I looked at him in disbelief as he barked a command: "I was there! Bring me the book!" I quickly obeyed "Commander Braid" and I'm glad I did. He opened up the centerfold map and described the day in amazing detail. His ship was anchored off the bow of the battleship U.S.S. Arizona. The Japanese air force focused their attack on "battleship row", so Gramps' ship was hardly damaged. The Phoenix got out of the harbor and briefly chased the Japanese fleet before returning to pick up the dead from their watery graves. He concluded my lesson with: "It was the worst thing I ever saw in my life." Then he closed the book and never spoke of Pearl Harbor again. It was just too difficult for him to talk about.
I always wondered why Gramps would retreat upstairs and work on his stamp collection when my cousins and I gathered at his house. At first, I thought he didn't like us. Now I realize that he was struggling with the emotional and spiritual wounds he experienced as a warrior. Stamp collecting was his therapy; at least he medicated with stamps and not with drugs and alcohol. Back then, I thought Gramps was just a painfully-shy introvert. Now I realize that he was probably struggling with the pain of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or a condition called "Moral Injury". I wonder how many other "wounded warriors" are out there with similar struggles and pain?
We ask the men and women of our Armed Services to go into harm's way and to do difficult things so that we can enjoy the American Dream. Like my grandfather, many of these brave warriors return home wounded physically, emotionally, and spiritually. They have sacrificed so much for us; shouldn't we pray for them to be healed? Well, pray we will. At our upcoming healing service on Sunday, November 1, 2015, our healing prayer ministry team will pray for anyone with any need, but we particularly hope to pray for active duty and retired service men and women and their families. Just as God used the prophet Elisha to heal General Naaman in Chapter 5 of 2nd Kings, perhaps our wounded warriors will receive the healing they need from the Lord. I pray they will. Come and see and bring a friend in need of healing prayer. The service will be in the historic church and it begins at 5:00pm.