29: Covered

29: Covered

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles and More

Covered

If you have a mom, there is nowhere you are likely to go where a prayer has not already been.

~Robert Brault

My middle son, Sam, had joined the Marines, something he had wanted since age nine. We knew there was a high probability of him serving a tour of duty in Afghanistan, yet nothing prepares a family for deployment, no matter how much information and communication they get from the Family Readiness Officer (FRO).

His deployment occurred while his father and I were getting a divorce, so emotions were already high. I felt as if I couldn’t breathe, moving numbly through work and daily activities. Sam told me not to worry about him, that God is with every Marine at all times.

I believed that, but still, one of the hardest things for military families is the waiting time between each phone call, waiting to hear again the magical words, “I’m okay.” All I could do was pray every day, for Sam and for all our service members.

We weren’t told the exact day of deployment, but one day we received an e-mail from the FRO letting us know that Sam was already on his way to Afghanistan. We were told that each of our Marines would contact us as soon as he or she was able, but the FRO would keep us updated as possible in consideration of operational security (OPSEC). We all understand OPSEC’s importance in keeping our loved ones safe.

As the days passed without word, new reports grimly announced the lost lives. I forced myself to stay focused on what I knew — that each of my children is a precious gift from God and always in His hands. These thoughts, prayers, and the supportive people around me helped me get through the days of not hearing.

Around 10:30 p.m. one night I was awakened with an urgent need to pray for my son. My heart was racing as I got down on my knees and prayed earnestly for Sam. Again and again, I petitioned the Lord to cover him and every Marine with him. Throughout the night, I prayed with fervor, asking God to move these boys into safety, to hide them from the enemies. By 3:00 a.m., I was exhausted and fell into a deep sleep, surrendering to the Lord for whatever was next.

It was several days before Sam called, and I wept in gratitude upon hearing his voice say, “Mom.” Then I heard the words, “I’m okay.” I asked him what had happened during that night I had felt the strong urge to pray.

Sam asked quietly, “Was it on the news?”

My heart skipped a beat. “Nothing on the news, but I was awakened to pray. Can you tell me what happened?”

He gave a soft laugh. “I knew you were praying, Mom. I felt it. I can’t tell you now, but when I get back, I will. But I knew you were praying.”

Months later, at work, I was again overcome with an urgent need to pray. I was attending a meeting at the time, but excused myself and went to my office to pray for the safety of Sam and his unit.

The next time Sam called, I asked him about that date and time. He laughed. “I’ll tell you when I get back. I knew you were praying, Mom. I felt it.”

Months later, Sam returned. I sat in the back seat with him as we drove home, wanting to hold, touch, and look closely at the young warrior who had been returned to us. He was changed — always amazing, he was now an amazing man. At a quiet moment, I asked him about those times when I’d been prompted to pray.

He faced me, inwardly seeing things that were horrible to convey.

“The first time, we were on the helicopter just coming into Kandahar province. There was a sudden firefight, and a helicopter was shot down in front of us.” He paused, his eyes distant. “Our pilot pulled some pretty fast maneuvers and got us out of there.

“The other time, we were meeting up with another unit. We had a map that our guide, an Afghan, was helping us follow, but the map led us to the wrong place. Somehow, we wound up in a place where there was a dead end surrounded by the Taliban. Every one of us could feel the tension, like we had walked into a trap. But then an old man with a beard, in robes, came out of nowhere and said he could help, that he knew where we needed to be.”

Sam shook his head and grinned. “Mom, this man was ancient looking! A little old man! Our guide told us not to listen to him, but the man insisted he was there to help us and could lead us to where we were supposed to be. Against the advice of our guide, we all decided to follow this man. He really insisted he had come to help us, but we didn’t know how.”

His eyes sparkled. “This little man started leading us out of the city, into the desert in the darkest of night. We were thinking we were really being led into an ambush now, but suddenly there was the unit we were meeting up with! We all turned to thank the old man, but he wasn’t there. He just disappeared.” He got an incredulous look on his face. “I knew you were praying, Mom. I know God got us out of there. I think that man was an angel.”

I wiped away my tears, thankful to God for sending that man, or angel, in answer to this mother’s urgent prayer — and for giving me my miracle yet again.

~Patti Wade

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