Footsteps in Faith: Deployed should apply Sabbath principle during leave

| November 19, 2012 | 0 Comments

Chaplain (Capt.) Stephan Buchanan
715th Military Intelligence Battalion, 500th Military Intelligence Brigade



Deployed life is far different than home life.

In addition to being separated from their family for months, service members work an enormous number of hours per day – six or seven days, per week.

For some who are deployed, their work requires going on dangerous missions and doing things they never thought they would have to do to simply survive or save a buddy. For others, work may require staying on the forward operating base where the danger is also very real.

Yet, families on the home front encounter many challenges of their own. Some parents are now single parents, and some families have fallen into a new routine that includes responsibilities once completed by their loved one, who is no longer at home.

The kids are missing mommy or daddy, and for those who are married, the bedroom has turned into a lonely place.

What becomes most important is the mid-tour leave, the period when the family at home and the service member abroad have the opportunity to re-unite for a short period of time.

Intentionally planning this time of reunion and applying the “Sabbath principle” to your mid-tour leave is vitally important for the family. Doing so will instill renewed life and health to the family as whole, while also honoring the Lord.

A number of examples in the Bible show God’s people applying the Sabbath principle by seeking rest and separating themselves from their daily routines and from other people. One such example can be found in Luke 5:12-16. In this passage, Jesus encounters a man with a severe case of leprosy. When the man sees Jesus, he bows and begs Jesus to heal him.

Jesus reaches out and touches the man, and then instantly the man is healed. Then, Jesus instructs the man to not tell anyone. The word, however, spreads quickly, and people come to hear Jesus preach and have Jesus heal them from their diseases.

Still, before Jesus continues his ministry, he applies the Sabbath principle. He takes his own personal time of rest. Verse 16 says, “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”

Even Jesus, the Son of God, is intentional about finding a time and place to rest and commune with God the Father.

To practice the Sabbath Principle while deployed is also important. Set aside a time and a place that is physically, emotionally and spiritually rejuvenating. Decide if you want to rest, travel or perhaps both. Decide what kind of mid-tour leave experience can best accomplish the type of rest that will best benefit your family: a cruise, an all-inclusive resort or a guided tour to an exotic place like the Holy Land.

The Sabbath principle is an invitation to experience God’s rest as an individual and/or as a family by celebrating and rejoicing in his creation. When you apply the Sabbath principle by taking the time to communicate with your family and planning out your mid-tour leave, you honor the Lord and express deep commitment to the ones you love the most.

The memories created here will last for the rest of your life. It will be great. Everyone can worship the Lord, everyone can get rest and everyone can win.


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Category: Footsteps in Faith, News, Standing Columns

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