In the desert you must work to make sure your feet are ready to carry you where you need to go. The harsh conditions and long hours in boots often require more attention than you would give your feet back home. Already I have had three trips to the clinic just for foot related problems. This week’s latest was a blister, I needed some moleskin and there was none at the BX so I had to go in. It seems to be working very well. So why all the talk about stinky feet??? Well who said my feet were stinky??? LOL it’s because as I thought about what to write, I simply thought of this Scripture verse in Romans 10 that says, “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’ ”
I enclosed a couple of pics of this type of ministry going on. My chaplain teammate
praying with a convoy of gun trucks leaving the base (he’s the one on the right with the box of devotionals), and our worship service praising God. And as I think of this I am reminded of my fighter squadron back home, the guys and ladies of the 27th “Fightin’ Eagles.” They have an awesome tradition of naming people who come into the squadron who have previously never been named. As their chaplain they honored me in this tradition, giving me the name “Gladiator.”I will never forget the words of the commander of the 27th FS. Before I was allowed to sign in he told me the significance of such a name.
Gladiator was chosen because they want me to be the one who leads them into the arena of battle, when they deploy in the new F-22 Raptor (I really hope I don’t get into trouble by telling this story outside of the squadron, forgive me guys). I had always known that I was made in the image of God, who Himself was a warrior, but I struggled with seeing myself that way. But what the 27th FS did not know and still do not is that for a while I had been praying that God would give me a new identity. As some of you know, my life was shattered several years ago when I began struggling with my past. I began remembering things from my childhood that I had never remembered before. Those memories of violence and emotional turmoil from my younger years had been repressed for so long and were now causing a real crisis in my life. On top of that, my marriage was falling apart and most of that was my fault as well. I simply was not ready to be a husband, nor a minister, nor did I feel like a real contributor to the human race in any way. But one truth I have found is that God uses those who are not ready yet, to make us rely completely on Him. I chose to strive out of my own strength and my entire world crumbled out from under me. As will happen when we refuse to allow God to be in control, I was unable to hold it all together. So I have been recovering from all that for several years now and God has really given me a freedom and sense of liberty that I have never had. He has healed my hurting places and helped me know my place and worth in this world. It has been hard and has required much of me. But one thing I needed and had been praying for since the first of the year was for God to give me a new name, an identity that was mine in my newness. You see in my faith tradition we believe that when God heals you out of your sin and then out of the broken places in your life that he makes you a new creation, the old things in your life pass away and he gives us a new place to start from. So I had been praying for months that God would give me that new name. In Revelations it says that when we get to heaven he will hand us a stone with our new name on it, our eternal name. I prayed that God would give me that piece of eternity now. I wanted an identity to live my life by. No more Chuck the broken man, the hurting little boy. I wanted to know how God saw me, and I wanted Him to bless me with a name that reflected his vision for me. So when the 27th FS gave me my name I knew immediately that God had spoken. If you have not seen Gladiator the movie, there is a character named Maximus, he was a Roman general who became a gladiator who would fight in the arena for the crowds to see. He was a courageous man, a valiant man, a strong man. He fights so well in the moment, and yet his heart belongs to eternity. He yearns to be in heaven with his wife and son, but continues the fight here so that others could be free. And many of his gladiator friends were freed because of him. I always knew that God was this kind of warrior, just read the Gospels. But I never saw myself in quite that light. I still struggle with it sometimes, maybe that is just the struggle to live up to such a name.
This past weekend God reaffirmed that to me. We were attacked. That is nothing new. It happens here. But about 3 minutes before the attack God called out to me. I was sitting in a soccer mom chair at the time enjoying a rare clear night sky, and I had this awesome presence that was leading me to draw my sword (spiritually) against the enemy, as I prayed against several spirits I felt God leading me to fight against, the mortars began to drop, about 300-500 yards from my position. It was surreal. I was outside at the time. Lying in the dirt on the ground, I asked is this really happening, as I am battling in the spiritual realm the enemy is dropping mortars as explosions were getting closer to where I was. I continued to pray. The reality of our warfare became very real at that moment. The enemy hates us and wants to take us out. The counter-fire began and I was reminded that I am not alone in this fight. I want to say thank you. Thank you for fighting with us. We are all created in the warrior image. We are in Iraq physically, yet there are so many in the spiritual realm able to fight on our behalf from wherever you are. Don’t stop. March on, march on, with beautiful feet, march on. Swords drawn, shields up, stay together. And don’t ever forget my tagline…
ABPnews will publish one entry a week from the journal then-Capt. Charles Seligman kept while deployed to Iraq as an Air Force chaplain in 2005. Now a major, Seligman currently serves as the deputy wing chaplain for the 59th Medical Wing at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. He is endorsed by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.