For The Christian Veteran On Veterans Day

Although it’s Veteran’s Day, a day during which we honor the men and women who have served our country in war, many veterans may not feel like there is much worth honoring or celebrating. Their experiences on the battlefield have left deep wounds of trauma. In the face of unspeakable memories, emotional distress, physical pain and a sense of hopelessness, many have turned to addictive substances or behaviors for some measure of comfort, some way to take away the pain, some way to forget the horror of war.

Christian veterans who battle with addiction may face an additional conundrum. Many went into the military to follow a sense of calling. They believed that this was the path God had set before them, and that it was his will for them to answer the call to support the nation’s armed forces. The sense of purpose was inspiring and enlivening.

Everything felt right. But it often didn’t go as planned. There were sights and experiences no one should have to live through, disabling injuries and the loss of friends and fellow soldiers on the battlefield. The Christian solider may begin to wonder, where is God in all of this? Where is his protection? How could this happen?

When God Feels Distant

Hope For The Christian Veteran On Veterans Day - Christian Drug RehabUpon returning home, life was often not how they’d left it. There was the challenge of adjusting to a life that, although familiar, felt as foreign as war. And then the anxiety and depression set in; there were the flashbacks, insomnia, the inability to put words to emotions. It seemed there was no comfort at all outside of the alcohol or the prescription pain meds. God felt distant.

While many Christian soldiers went to the battlefield brimming with faith, the brokenness, the utter destruction and the endless death caused many to question. Upon return, it was hard to turn to the God they’d known before the experience of war. It didn’t seem there was much real comfort in the Gospel—people still died, towns were still destroyed, bodies still got mangled.

Perhaps there was little more to hope for in this world other than getting high, checking out and shutting down.

If you are a Christian veteran struggling with addiction, know that you are not alone. God is real and he is compassionate in the face of your pain and desperation. We understand why your experience would cause doubt or why it would seem there was little left to live for besides getting high.

But it doesn’t have to be the end of the story. There is healing and hope in the Gospel. There is meaning in life beyond getting high and trying to forget. There is help for you. Christian veterans may feel that God is too far away, that he has deserted them when their desire was to serve or that he doesn’t even exist. These are natural ways to feel, but indeed God is very near to you in your distress.

Evils That Have No Answer

Many will struggle with the inability to make sense of war and battle and the things they have experienced. We wish we had an explanation for the evil you have experienced. We wish we could help make sense of it. But there are evils that have no answer. However, we stand on the truth that although there is so much we cannot explain about the brokenness of the world, we have a God who is good.

Christian veterans who become addicts and seek their escape in alcohol, drugs or other addictive behaviors can miss the goodness God has for them. The dependence on the addiction takes priority over dependence upon God.

But God stands ready to deliver the veterans who have suffered from even the most traumatic of experiences and who have battled the most powerful of addictions.

This Veterans Day we pray for the Christian veterans who have experienced physical and emotional trauma, and we remind them that in Jesus Christ there is hope of redemption, salvation and recovery. God has goodness for you and if you’re struggling with an addiction, there is help. We honor you for your fight on the battlefield, and for the war you continue to wage now that you have returned home. We’re here to help you live beyond the pain.

God loves you so much…even when you don’t see it. You don’t see the wind, but you can feel it’s effects…