November is the month of remembering those who have made sacrifices so that we could live in freedom. We remember with sadness those who lost their lives in service to their country. The main focus is on the two World Wars and many veterans from those conflicts have said, “Never again!” They did not want anyone to go through what they went through. However, it looks more and more like we are heading for another major conflict, probably starting in the Middle East.
A year ago I wrote about how the former Prime Minister of Canada called people’s attention to the fact that Russia was building up forces and bases in the Arctic and he said we should not be complacent about it. However, it seems now his words have been forgotten. In other news, a recent BBC report stated that the U.S. Congress is going to be increasing the amount of money they give the state of Israel for military spending from 3.1 billion to 3.8 billion dollars per year. We know the state of Israel is not happy with the recent surge of wealth in Iran since President Obama lifted the economic sanctions from Iran and they call Iran a major military threat. In another BBC report it said the Commission President of the European Union wants to have a common European military force. Could it be that many world leaders are preparing for the worst? We now see Russia in the Middle East, an event which has not been seen for over seventy years. China has become a military giant. Just what are we headed toward in this poor old world?
The ravages of war are already with millions of people on the planet. Even in North America there are reports of the human tragedy as a result of military conflict. We are seeing thousands fleeing the Middle East to find shelter in Europe and North America and other places. Our own soldiers have suffered from the effects of war. In a recent CBC report it was revealed that nine percent of Canadian soldiers from the conflict in Afghanistan are suffering from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). This is a terrible state of mental anguish which comes on people that have been stressed to the point of mental breakdown. They just cannot cope with life the way the rest of us are able to. I think I have a little bit of understanding of this condition because I believe my father had PTSD.
When the Second World War broke out my father was quick to sign up. He was not much of a fighter so he joined a medical corps in the Canadian army. He knew first aid before the war from his experience as a Boy Scout master. He rose to the rank of Sergeant Major and was sent overseas. He was assigned to search and rescue work in the bombed out areas of England. I’m sure he and his men saved many lives and helped many injured people by their work, but then tragedy struck. During an air raid he and his men went for shelter in a building and a bomb landed either on the building or close to it. The whole building came down on top of them. My father was the only survivor. When he was dug out two or three days later they were surprised that he was still alive. He was having hallucinations and talking to the dead body of the soldier lying beside him. He had head injuries. After his recovery he was not really recovered. He continued to have blackouts and hallucinations so they did not send him into the field again but put him in an office doing paper work. They discharged him a year before the war ended. His head problems did not go away. I remember him having blackouts and hallucinations thirty-five years after the end of the war.
When he got back to Canada he proposed to my mother. They had dated before the war. My mother told me years later that it was a different man that came back from the war than the man that left for the war. They were married the year the war ended. First of all, my dad changed the family name from McDormand to MacDormand. He started attending a Mormon church even though he had been raised as a Baptist. Later he became interested in Anglo-Catholic rituals and eventually studied Eastern religions. He joined the Freemasons and eventually completed the thirty-third degree in the Scottish rite. These eccentricities may seem harmless. I’m not sure some of them were, but the real danger came when he started drinking. He would meet his veteran buddies and drink with them. Perhaps they were the only ones that understood him. Eventually he became an alcoholic and it led to failure of every business venture he tried. It also led to conflict in the family and when it finally led to an act of violence against my mother. He must have felt remorse because he left the family and I did not see him again for ten years. When he finally returned to our city he lived apart from us for the next fourteen years, until he died of a stroke. My parents never did get a divorce. Neither of them was interested in getting involved with anyone else.
There is no simple answer for people that are suffering from PTSD. I do not claim to be a psychologist, but I do know how I have coped with family tragedy. I became a Christian and asked the Lord to fill me with his Spirit. When the Holy Spirit comes into us we are born again spiritually. Our spirits and souls are regenerated and filled with life. Only our bodies remain in a state of deterioration, but those bodies will also be born again at the return of Christ Jesus. We will then be completely filled with abundant life for eternity. “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” John 17:3. The answer to every problem can be summed up in two words, “Jesus Christ.” If we seek him, he will come to us and bring spiritual healing and relief from mental and emotional distress. We were created for him and we find our fulfillment in serving and worshiping him.
The world is entering a time of severe crisis leading up to the return of Christ. Millions of people are already in a crisis. It will catch up to all of us eventually. Let us draw near to Jesus Christ as we approach the coming conflict of the ages. Most of the World War Two veterans who said, “Never again!” to war have passed into their rest. They are finished with war, but we who are left have to face the consequences of national sin. Nevertheless, the Lord said, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Hebrews 13:5.