Overseas Deployments and Heaven

As I look at the title of this post, I wonder how those two could have anything in common at all. Deploying overseas was hard, dangerous work. We were far away from loved ones and often felt isolated from “real life”. Well, this is about a revelation I was given years after the deployments I made, long after I retired from the Navy.

Deploying Overseas

Even though each of my four major deployments were very different from each other, they did share a pattern of events.

There was the departure and crossing the ocean. It took several days to get to where we were going. I had the opportunity to sail the North Atlantic, South Atlantic, Mediterranean Sea, Indian Ocean, South Pacific, and the Arctic Ocean. On the way to those places, I went through the Straits of Magellan at the southern tip of South America, through the Panama Canal, and even around the Horn of Africa.

An aerial stern view of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS NIMITZ (CVN-68) returning to homeport in Norfolk, Virginia.

After transiting to our “operating theatre”, we would finally arrive. No more focus on getting ready. Up to this point, everything we had done was to prepare ourselves for being here. We read manuals and “operational procedures” to sharpen ourselves. We discussed flights frequently in “briefs”. We spent time with each other at meals, at meetings and between. Because of the challenges, isolation, and hardship … life-long bonds were formed.

We stayed for months. Sometimes we pulled into a port, which gave us a chance for rest and relaxation. It was also a reminder that we were ambassadors for both America and the Navy. Our behaviour was scrutinized and when necessary, dealt with.

There were also accidents resulting in deaths, there were difficult missions to be planned and flown. We had to maintain a “presence”, meaning we had to let the Soviets know that we were there and ready to respond if needed. We were there to influence both friend and foe.

Then when we were done, there was the return trip home, full of excitement and anticipation. Whether arriving onboard at the pier or flying a plane into the station … the “welcome home” was an emotionally powerful time. The crowd was great, and seeing loved ones whom we had missed for so long was very, very special.

After all we have endured, we are finally home.

Heaven

What does this have to do with heaven? I realized that we are on a spiritual “deployment” in this life! We have our time of spiritual immaturity when we are not yet ready to do God’s work. However, even during this time He gently pulls us across our “spiritual ocean”. We are finally ready to do God’s work, and we spend anywhere from a day to many decades doing it. We don’t know when it will end, we don’t know how we will be used. We read scripture to help us prepare. We attend Bible Studies. We have fun, we have tears. We bond with others on the same journey. We hope to encourage those that want to be friendly and be friendly to those that don’t.

At some point, we will be heading home, to heaven. What a tremendous and powerful welcome we will get there! Loved ones we have missed for a long, long time will greet us with enthusiasm!

After all we have endured, we are finally home.

What's your thought?