“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
When God spoke these words to Joshua, He was about to lead His chosen people into a new place, the Promised Land. All Joshua and the Israelites had to go on were God’s direction and promise. For military families, this is a familiar place to be: going somewhere unknown with nothing but possessions, the instructions of the U.S. military and the promises of God in Scripture. Even with a strong faith, the obstacles of the military lifestyle can be a heavy weight on marriages and families.
“With the military, everything can change very quickly,” said Sarah Tharaldson, who has been a Marine wife for 10 years. “Having that stability at home and to come home to that is really important.”
Stability comes from a strong foundation, and a strong foundation is built in prayer. Just as we pray for the physical safety of service members, it is important to pray for emotional strength and spiritual health in their relationships, marriages and families.
“The military always comes first, they’re like, ‘he just needs to do what he needs to do,’ and we come after that,” Sarah explains. “It’s been really sweet to have people covering our marriage in prayer, because our marriage can just take a hit with all of the requirements.”
Military spouses put their comforts on the back burner to endure things like deployments, irregular work schedules and their service member missing important life events, such as the birth of their own child. It can be a transient lifestyle, moving away from loved ones, often across the country or world, and discussing the next move in terms of months rather than years.
“God has called him, and really both of us, to it,” said Carrie Wood, a Navy wife of 26 years. Her husband, Glen, is a Navy chaplain and prayed for our military during the 2020 virtual National Observance. “Of course, I’m not active duty, I would never say I am, but there is a calling as a spouse, especially in ministry.”
As we commit pray for the spouses whom God has called to stand alongside their service members, we take a position of quiet compassion to listen to their experiences and needs to understand how to pray strategically for God to abundantly provide for them.
“It’s really getting in behind the scenes… people stepping in and being aunts and uncles and grandparents and loving on families,” Carrie said. “Being there the week that the deployment starts and being there seven months into the deployment, and not forgetting.”
This week, we choose to remember, and not forget. We remember the service members who sacrifice control of their paths and even their lives, and we remember the spouses and families who make sacrifices too, in order to make their service possible.
Will you join in prayer for military families?
Lord, You are God over all seasons and all places. No matter where we are on the face of the Earth or in our spiritual journey, You meet us there with your saving grace.
Thank you for calling men and women to stand beside our military members as they face challenges at home and abroad. We pray for the spouses, that they would be filled with patience and grace to endure unexpected changes and an environment that can feel like their marriage is not a priority. Bring spouses into loving communities of believers who will minister your Gospel to their hearts and live out Your call to out-do one another is showing love.
We pray that you would fill the hearts of military spouses and families with strength and courage and remind them that You are with them wherever they go.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Peace and blessings,