Have faith, trust in destiny

  • Published
  • By Chaplain (Capt.) Kenneth Moore
  • 459th Air Refueling Wing
(Editor's Note:  This commentary originally posted in the "Desert Eagle," the deployed newsletter of the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing during Chaplain Moore's deployment.)

Can you recall a time in your life when you had a plan, idea or a goal, only to be disappointed by circumstances that did not allow it to come to fruition? Many times in our
military careers we are advised to be proactive and assure that our personal records, professional military education and awards are current. By doing so, it maximizes future career success and opportunity for choice assignments. Further, if you have not checked all of the boxes, been in the spotlight or the pristine assignments, your career progression will be limited.

Hearing statements like these makes it easy to feel you must control your destiny. Recently, I had the awesome opportunity to receive pearls of wisdom from a well-seasoned servant leader, Lt. Gen. Loren Reno, as he answered questions at a company and field grade officers' dinner. The question was asked by an officer in attendance, "Since command opportunities are limited, should an officer turn down commanding a small squadron to be more competitive for group or wing command opportunity?" General Reno gave a response that was wise and theological.

General Reno said in his 30-plus years of military service, he has come to realize the importance of not trying to guide and direct his own future, but rather to trust the wisdom of those above him to place him in the right place at the right time. Reflecting back, he recalled the times he received assignments that may not have been ones he would have chosen for his career progression (remember checking the boxes).

Even when a family emergency occurred in his life and he was prepared to leave the military, those above him knew his need and valued his contribution to the Air Force. He planned to get out of the service, but before he could take action, he received a new assignment to a location where he could continue to serve the Air Force and care for his wife through recovery. Six months later his name appeared on the brigadier general's promotion list. His faithfulness in his past assignments outweighed the size of commands or the locations where he served.

We, in the community of faith, have someone, something -- a higher power that is above us with a plan for our lives and future success. Many times we can't see our future blessings because of our inability to allow God to direct our path instead of ourselves. Yes we must check the boxes, study to show ourselves knowledgable, submit to the authority placed over us, but never forget to look up and be guided by the spirit of God. Our faith must be in the hope and promise of our Lord and God. If God is before us, then who can be against us?

I am constantly reminded of the importance of not my will, but thy will be done. When I received my deployment orders to Southwest Asia, I was initially disappointed. I had requested to go to the worst place in the AOR so I could make a difference and really feel like I contributed to the fight. My wing chaplain had a different plan for me. He told me that he felt my gifts would be better used in Southwest Asia and asked if I would still volunteer, if I did not get the follow-on assignment I wanted? I responded, "I'll go where I am sent."

In retrospect, my desire was all about me and not about the mission or service. While I felt my wing chaplain was holding me back, God was preparing me for the most life-changing, fruitful, awesome ministry I have ever had. I've served under military leaders that I will never forget, ministered to the most phenomenal American and Coalition servicemembers, prayed for our nation's heroes, fallen warriors, and witnessed God move in so many people and ways that I almost missed my blessing if things would gone went the way I planned.

Through this experience, I have learned the location of our service does not validate our contribution to those we serve. I leave this assignment with no regrets but a greater love and respect for all. I am thankful for the wisdom of man and, more importantly, God. When we are able to trust that God is directing our path, submitting to others becomes that less difficult.