Sunday, November 21, 2010

When Do We See God at Work?

Yes, it has been a while. I apologize for being away so long. Sometimes in life other things have precedence and just take over. This is not a continuation of my financial situation series, but I do plan on sharing more of that story at some point. Since I have had such a long break from posting, I thought a brief change in topic would be in order as well. Today will be a heavier subject than personal finance...

Most who know me, know that I view most things in two extremes. There is rarely any gray. Life and Death: given the choice, most of us would prefer to talk about Life. Death is a heavy subject, one that is often avoided. At the other extreme, Life is a more pleasant subject. We typically equate Life with God, the Giver of Life. Can we consider for a moment seeing the presence of God, even in Death? Sometimes sharing the stories of how God works, even in the moments of our lives when we experience death, provides some of the great glimpses of the Hope that we live for each day.

On 10 November, I was changing my facebook profile picture to one of me in uniform. The next day was 11/11, Veterans Day in the United States. At first, I just changed it to a previous profile picture of me in uniform, one from my last promotion in 2009 (my blog profile picture above). Then a thought entered my mind, "No, use one from Iraq." As I was looking through my Iraqi Freedom pictures from 2003-2004, one in particular jumped out at me, along with another thought, "Use this one."

The next day, I had a facebook message, "Thank you for posting the picture of Denny, would love to see more if you have them." On what would be MSG White's last Veterans Day, I spent some time, searching, and pulled together an album of 27 photos from our time in Iraq. When I reflect on each of the moments during that 24 hour period, I am amazed at how God works through his Holy Spirit to prepare us for the inevitable.

Today, it is difficult for me to remember many specifics of our conversations while we were "over there", but on the day I learned of his passing, I reflected on one thing that was important. Through my years as a teenager and through college, I rarely was able to spend time with my real father. During our year-long deployment, sometimes MSG White would jokingly tell me that he was like my father, and he was right. During that time, we shared a two man tent at the Baghdad International Airport (BIAP). Needless to say, we had plenty of time to build a father-son type rapport. At the rank of First Lieutenant, I was his Platoon Leader and he was my Senior Non-commissioned Officer. We were battle buddies and mostly inseparable. His steady demeanor and mentorship served me well while deployed. That year spent with MSG White was priceless, and I believe a fundamental work of God. In a mysterious way that only God can perform, it not only brought me closer to Denny, but further opened the door to rebuilding the relationship with my real father. For that, I will always remember Denny. I am proud to be able to say that I served with MSG Charles Dennis White and I am forever grateful for his service. I look forward to the day when I will see him again on the High Ground!

"There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." - John 15:13

Headquarters Support Company
389th Engineer Battalion Combat (Heavy)
Roll Call of Honor:

MSG White?

MSG Denny White?

MSG Charles Dennis White?

First Sergeant, MSG White is not present. He has fallen.

MSG Charles Dennis White (66) passed away peacefully on the morning of 17 November 2010 at his home in Springfield, MO. MSG White was not only a Veteran of Iraqi Freedom, but also served two tours in Vietnam with the Navy. He served proudly in Iraq as the Senior Non-commissioned Officer for the Maintenance Platoon, Headquarters Support Company, 389th EN BN CBT (H). He turned 59 while serving in Iraq, and could keep up with the best of them over there. He was very proud to still be serving his country. After returning home, he served six more months in the Army Reserve before retiring in November 2004 when he turned 60!

The LORD says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.”  - Psalm 91:14-16