This week I received a letter from Daniel. His assignment is in Afghanistan doing his part for our country as have generations before him.
He tells of the terrible heat during the day and the freezing cold at night. Two years he has been there and was just recently able to acquire a cot for a bed. During the past year, he has slept on the sand using two sleeping bags to keep warm. Other articles of clothing are also spread over him as protection against the freezing cold.
Sand fleas have been a torment to the point that he has asked for flea collars to be sent to him. They are buckled around a belt loop to keep the little buggers off and provide some relief from the torturous, biting insects.
Sleep is fitful at best. Even as exhaustion takes over his body at night, his mind will not be quieted. Scenes from past days and weeks project themselves into his psyche like a marathon movie matinee, rolling over and over in his mind until his body violently jerks and reacts to the horror. One of the scenes depicts the remains of an enemy who was trying to set a bomb as they rounded a corner, but it went off too soon – too soon for him.
Not only does he see the inhumanity to man, but the children -- the children who have nothing. Everywhere they run, barefooted, not owning shoes. A little girl tries to wash her feet after walking over the rough, rocky ground. Daniel’s heart breaks and asks for children’s shoes to be sent to him. When on patrol, only a few can be bundled into his back-pack. The highlight of his day is when he can find a child who will fit the shoes we have sent. He sees the smile on the child’s face and hears words of heart-felt thanks. The mother is not allowed to speak to strangers and must stay in the house. The child’s smile makes his day.
He is a bit older than some of the men there and his hip is hurting. He is concerned -- this is no place for an injury. That night he releases a simple prayer using Isaiah 53:5. “Father, You know my situation. By the stripes Jesus bore for me, I ask You to heal my hip.” The next morning, the hip feels fine. To test it, he volunteers for the day’s patrol. Jumping canals, running through a hail of bullets, returning fire, none of these things are a problem for his hip. It works very well as it was created to do.
Soon, Daniel’s letters began to come to us with haunting concerns for his own safety.
Early one morning, my sleep was disturbed and his face was before me. Releasing ministering angels for his protection, peace began to descend and I knew it was done.
Weeks later, we received another letter:
“Early last week, I had a dream. I had been walking in a void and suddenly I was attracted to something on my left, at a distance. I stopped and tried to focus on the object. As I did so, I saw that someone was walking on either side of me. I did not note their feet, but they went by me – close. I noticed them peripherally, but focused on the distant object. I felt an air of expectancy – like time had stopped and was waiting -- for something.
I glanced at them to see who they might be. They passed, abreast of each other. I did not see faces. As they came into view, I could see they were identical, with blondish-red hair. It was semi-straight to their shoulders. Even the style was the same. As they advanced past me, I saw they had on pastel-greenish gowns. Then I saw wings, white as cotton, on each one’s back. The one on the right spoke to the other as they walked.
Somehow I knew they were neither male nor female -- both were about five feet tall. They had not acknowledged me. I stood there,awe struck . . . I woke up.”
During the worst of battles in hair-raising patrols, Daniel now has confidence that Psalm 91 is indeed his. Weeks run into months, months into years – finally he is coming home, but fear no longer rides his coat-tail -- he has seen his guardian angels.
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