PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), Agent Orange exposure, potential suicide, depression, family problems—All of these are physical, mental or social in nature. They are also, in my opinion, spiritual in nature, and very clearly and profoundly so!
As a clergyman and former pastor, I firmly believe that many of the world’s difficulties stem from a lack of a God-relationship. The problems that our former servicemen and servicewomen have their origin in the very same source—the basic lack of a spiritual interaction with Almighty God.
It is not my intention to preach to veterans or other readers. I do want to point out that a spiritual perspective can provide a whole new view on our problems and their potential solutions. As a veteran, I have shared (and still share) most of the issues confronting others who have served. I do believe that God has helped me immensely with dealing my own personal PTSD, Agent Orange, suicidal thoughts and depression and family concerns.
God didn’t help me because I was special. He helped me because He loves me (as he does all others) and because I asked Him to help me. The key may be that I realized I couldn’t handle these heavy problems on my own. I had to turn them over to Him! That is precisely what I am suggesting that other Veterans, service members and their families do—“Let Go and Let God!”
The Veterans Administration has some excellent chaplains to provide spiritual advice and support. Many local places of worship have skilled religious leaders who can offer spiritual help. Veterans organizations usually have chaplains or religious leaders in their midst, all of whom are veterans themselves. Evangelical organizations, easily encountered on the Internet or even the Yellow Pages, may have vast amounts of materials and resources, often at local levels, to share God’s individual plan for each and every one of us, including veterans.
Please don’t turn away from these spiritual aides. I can say, as a matter of personal experience that God not only can help, but he wants to help and will help those who seek His assistance!
Last Thursday (9 a.m.-1 p.m.) at the Gardendale Farmers Market at the Gardendale Civic Center, Zach Burton (of Vet2Vet) and I saw a good number of people seeking information and assistance. Zach always does an excellent job of relating his personal experiences and valid observations to seekers at the Veteran Information Table.
Jim Parola (who could also be a good place to seek spiritual answers) does an excellent job setting up and running the Gardendale Farmers Market. The market is sponsored by Jim’s church—Good Shepherd Lutheran in Gardendale. Not only are there fresh fruits and vegetables but many other goods and services available.
If you are available between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. tomorrow (Thursday) come on by the market and visit Zach, me and other veterans. Share your knowledge and experience with us and other visitors. We generally have a good and useful time!
May God richly bless our country, our leaders, our military/veterans (and their families) and most of all—May God Bless YOU!
Gerald “Joe” Stahlkuppe is a combat Army veteran of the Vietnam War. An ordained clergyman, public speaker and author of several books, he lives with his wife in Gardendale.
Questions or veterans issues you would like to see addressed in the column can be directed to Stahlkuppe at P.O. Box 849, Gardendale, AL 35071 or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.