Avalon Chronicles #47: "Jesus in One's Soul"
by Allen B. Clark firstname.lastname@example.org
Over the recent past years I have been privileged to be a guest speaker at Warrior Transition Battalions on military bases and at gatherings of deployed Navy reservists who have returned home from the combat areas. The chaplains and organizers have always been ill at ease for me to mention anything specific about my Christian faith. I began an approach wherein I would tell them, if they desired healing, appropriate the tenets and teachings of their own faith. However, I told them what worked for my own healing from my war traumas was my Christian faith. Well have I been aware that without describing my faith in Jesus, my presentations are without true meaning because all I have accomplished is to relate a story of resiliency. However, I have also been privileged with many personal opportunities to visit one on one with combat veterans with whom I have had no issue in expressing my personal faith story of belief in Jesus the Christ as my Savior and Lord.
The loss of my two legs below the knees on June 17, 1967 from a mortar shell landing inches away at Dak To Special Forces camp in Vietnam turned my world upside down and was life-changing to say the least. Our three worlds are body, soul, and spirit. Our soul is divided further in mind, emotions, and will. Thoughts enter our minds, cause emotions, and what follows are choices of actions with consequences, good or bad. As I have counselled my veterans I have become aware that their issues of Post Traumatic Stress are actually a compounding of their lives before, during, and after our combat where the real issue for that segment of our lives is combat operating stress.
Many of our combatants return home and never truly heal ever, not with the medications, alcohol, psychologists, psychiatrists, exercise, all different approaches offered, even church attendance all by itself. As a child I had the childhood faith in Jesus related in a previous message, learned of the historical Jesus in my teen years, experienced answers to some of my prayers, and believed in Jesus in my "head knowledge" as my Savior because I grasped the Crucifixion and Resurrection Upon my return from Vietnam I was prescribed the typical therapy for returning vets, psychiatry and medication, which I underwent for six years. In a church service in the mid-70s, I was introduced to a new level of "soulful knowledge" of Jesus. That is, that Jesus is truly a part of the Trinity of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. God needed to give us humans a real and specific example of how to live our lives. God also needed to set up a means by which the power of Satan, established in the Garden of Eden with man's original sin, could be broken. My understanding moved up emotionally and spiritually to "Lordship" level, a quantum jump. I had always believed that I had "accepted" Jesus as personal Savior, but candidly it was very superficial and not totally grasped as to the significance of this decision for Christ as it is termed.
I began to attend a couple's Bible Study, read my Bible more diligently, and began to get a handle on what truly believing in Jesus meant. I ask many vets where they are going when they die. Many say "I guess Heaven." I ask why and they say, "Because I have tried to be a good person." The essence of our faith is belief in Jesus, not good works and behavior, and belief in an eternal life upon death as God's gift. From those early days to now I know the essence of the value of having Jesus in our soul has many earthly benefits. Appropriation of the benefits of His passion, death, and resurrection are immeasurable. Thousands of books have been written on the Christian experience (to where it has almost become a "cottage" industry for some authors), but where I am is really very simple and relates to the healing and maturing to address our lives before, from, and after combat and life itself for non-combatants. When we truly accept Jesus (and my next blog will describe the personal way we "accept Jesus as Savior"), we learn some very basic techniques that I expound upon. As foundations we must confess with true repentance and sorrow for all our sins of thought, word, and deed, known and unknown, forgive all others who have wronged or hurt us, to include ourselves for our "stupids," and give up harbored bitterness and anger held throughout our lives. By these means we lay the groundwork in our lives to obtain healing of our hurts, disappointments, and bad choices. We recognize we need something only faith in Jesus can bring about to help us achieve true satisfaction and joy in a very troubled world.