Providence or Coincidence
Sometimes life throws us curve balls we don’t plan on. I have been dead twice already, but that was fourteen years ago. As you will read later in this post, I think I will be here for the rapture, but it better get here pretty quick. I am receiving Agent Orange Compensation for my heart condition, also was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. My mobility has really gone downhill the last three years. It has reached the point I use the electric carts at Walmart. I remember thinking those people need to get up and exercise, but now I realize that is not always possible.
My daughter tells me I need to exercise and I tell her if it was that simple the government would not be giving me the money they are. My answer to those people now is, “ You know how you feel when you want to do that one extra rep and it is just not there, Well that is the way I feel as soon as I standup. At seventy plus years old I have several other problems also. Obesity is a big part of it. In the past right before my heart attack I lost 90 pounds, but now not being able to exercise it is a lot harder. I need to try though as part of the “vision” I had requires me to be walking. So if I am going to be here for the rapture it needs to be getting here.
In the course of writing this I learned something else I had never noticed before. You will see why I find April Fool’s Day significant when you read the story, but I just learned some more trivia on the matter. Well Easter and April Fool’s Day are on the same day this year. Checking Google to see how often that happens, it seems the last time was in 1956, which is a bit ironic. I have a brother who is 10 years younger than me and born in December 1956. That means, counting back nine months he was conceived around Easter1956. It sure surprised my parents, as they were told my Mom could have no more children after I was born. I almost killed my Mom kicking my way out. The irony in it is that I find Easter and April Fool’s Day have been significant in my life more than once and at seventy plus years of age I just realized that.
In January, 1967, I went to bed, and, best as I can remember, everything was normal. I had not been drinking nor doing drugs. I did at that point drink sometimes, but I had never tried drugs other than those prescribed by a doctor. The next thing I knew, I was standing at the window of my room in the barracks looking out. The window was open, and it was a nice spring like night. As I looked, I saw two people walking down the street across from the barracks. All of sudden, I realized one of the two people was me. I was telling the person with me about the Bible and the coming of the Lord.
It was or seemed like a spring like night. One thing I noticed was that I had this peace about me. It was a peace that surpassed all understanding. It was a peace to the core of my being. Believe me, that was not the state of my life at that moment in time. The next thing I knew, the heavens parted and I saw Christ coming forth on a white horse, with an Army in white, and a golden staircase preceded him. Trumpets blared, and the earth shook, and people started running in all directions and screaming. Again I noticed that peace about me. All of a sudden, it was over.
The next thing I knew, I was standing at the window and looking out. However, it was not a spring like night. It was blowing snow and freezing cold, and about six inches or more of snow was on the ground. I stood there a couple of minutes kind of dumbfounded by my experience. I looked around the room. The light was on. It was a four man room, but all my roommates were gone. It was very late. I closed the window and watched as a couple of cars passed by. Slowly, I went back to my bed, turning the light off on the way.
I laid there and tried to absorb what I had just experienced. It was some time later when one of my roommates came in. That was a relief. It was not the rapture, and I had not been left behind. I remember his asking if I was okay. I said yes, but wondered if my voice betrayed my concern. He never mentioned it again. Sleep was hard coming, but sometime later it overtook me.
The next day I talked to Allan who lived in the next room. That was his last name, at least I think it was, and I do not remember his first. After all, it was forty plus years in January. That is not an excuse, because I can close my eyes and replay that moment almost as vividly as the moment it happened. It had not been my custom to talk to Allan; in fact, he was almost a social leper. He was a born again, Bible thumping Christian. In the course of the day, I managed to get alone with Allan and discuss my “experience” with him. He seemed to tolerate me. While I had not played any of the tricks on him that the others had, I had not shown any sympathy or compassion either. His main advice was to pray on the matter.
While I did not do much praying, I did consult a Bible. My success was limited to a verse a member of our church had written in the Bible before giving it to me on my return from Bible camp. It was Proverbs, chapter three, and verses five and six. Since that day, they have become my life verses. The fact I still had that Bible was a miracle in itself. At that moment in time, it was my Rock of Gibraltar. It was all I had to cling to. It was the needle that led me out of the haystack of confusion, although it was some time before I truly even grasped its significance.
Slowly, I came to the conclusion that the Rapture was going to be in the spring. So I came up with my plan. Like Jonah, I ran. I volunteered for Vietnam. In my peanut brain and higher logic, I expected God to put everything on hold while I went to Vietnam. Spring came and went, and I was still in Germany. Finally, in May, I got my orders for Vietnam and had to wait till the 20th of June, 1967 to leave. In my job as a parachute rigger, I thought I was going to go straight to Israel instead. God was playing a trump card and sending me straight to Armageddon. Let me say that Israel was going to have backup if they needed it. The Israeli Six Day War came and went though, and off I went to Vietnam, with a short stay at home in the states.
After forty-five days at home, it was time to go on to Vietnam and my appointment with destiny. My year in Vietnam was a strange one to say the least. It turned out to be more of a Jonah experience than I realized. The units I was assigned to were over- staffed. Upon arriving at the 101st Airborne in Phan Rang, I spent ninety days guarding water pumps for the Air Force. After that, I returned to my unit, only to be transferred to Cam Ranh Bay. Shortly after arriving there, it was my privilege to again be sent on temporary duty. I managed to survive three months of driving convoys up and down the coast on Highway One. Little did I know that this would open a door later in my life . Finally, when the Tet Offensive started in February of l968, it was my chance to perform in the field the Army had trained me for at great expense. Many units were cut off and completely surrounded, our job became vital. We were returned to our home units. Supply by sky, or by parachute specifically, became the sole means of getting supplies and equipment to many units. It was around the clock work for almost sixty days.
Finally, my time in Vietnam came to an end. When I had volunteered for Vietnam, it was really to get back to the states a little quicker. At this point, I need to give a little background as to how I got to Germany the first time. I had reenlisted to go to France, and upon getting there in September of 1966, my dream got cut short. French President De Gaulle told the Americans to leave. You know who left with the advance party. Not being impressed with Germany helped me make my decision to volunteer for Vietnam. The vision or dream I had also helped encourage me to leave. Otherwise I would have spent three years in Germany and then my last year in the States. However, by going to Vietnam, I would get back to the States almost two years earlier and finish my time there.
It almost worked. I did go back to the States after leaving Vietnam, and spent almost eight months in a heavenly place known as Fort Bragg, North Carolina. It was not Germany, and it definitely was not Vietnam, so for the time being I was happy. At least till February of 1969, when I got orders to go back to Germany. It was funny how Germany no longer seemed like such a bad deal. After all, I was not going back to the same unit I had left. At the time, there were only two company size units with my job specialty in Europe. At least I was not going back to Idar.
As they say, God works in mysterious ways His wonders to perform. My time flew by, and I took my short leave and off to Germany I went. Arriving at the airport of Rhine-Main in Germany, I got off the plane still in a fairly exuberant mood. The Rapture had not happened, and I was back in Germany, but not where I was before. As I exited the terminal a young specialist walked up to me. He asked my name. He was there to pick me up. Well, first, they do not send a jeep to pick up a specialist, and secondly, he was not wearing an Eighth Division patch. He was wearing the patch of the unit I had left almost two years before. In short order, I explained these minute details to him.
He smiled and handed me my “new orders” explaining I had been transferred en route back to my old unit. My cheeriness of moments before was gone. Getting my bags and the almost three hour drive back to my unit was all a blur, and truly hardly any of it is remembered. My conversation was mechanical, as I was lost in deep thought all the way. How could this be, I kept asking myself. Finally, we arrived, and I came out of my stupor. There were a lot of smiling faces, a lot of back slapping and shaking hands. The job field I was in was small. After just four years in the Army, I had served with and went to school with many of the soldiers greeting me. Also, as I said, it was a three- year tour, and I had only been gone two years. So some of the faces were familiar from when I had left.
It was almost surreal as I came “home” the conquering hero. They carried my bags in and took me to the First Sergeant and introduced me. He shook hands and welcomed me to the unit. Then he explained he would get someone to take me to my room. I remember telling him that would not be necessary as I knew where I was going. He explained that was impossible as he had not even told the clerk where he was putting me yet. I smiled and looked at him, and by this time I knew where this journey would end. I had literally gone clear around the world and was back in the same Company, in the same barracks, on the same floor and in the same room. I explained to him my room was the second from the end on the right. He looked at me puzzled. I just smiled back and left with my entourage.
As I reached the room, I opened the door and looked in. The bed on the right was taken the two by the windows were also taken. Finally, I looked behind the door and sure enough the bed and wall locker were empty. I had gone all the ways around the world to come back to the very same bed and wall locker I had left almost two years before. However it hit me that God does have a sense of humor. The day I arrived was April 1 1969. At that point, I became a little overwhelmed by it all. I asked all the people to give me a few minutes alone. I sat down on the bunk and leaned back against the wall.
Many might dismiss all this as coincidence, but I felt God had actually showed me the reality of his Being. As I sat, there I told God, “I do not know what all this is about. I will not be a hypocrite and get down on the floor and plead and beg. But I know now you are real and there is a meaning and a purpose to all this. I intend to continue on with my life, and, when it is time, you give me direction. I will do whatever it is you want me to do. I do not know what it is, but I will do it. My life is in your hands; do with me as you please. When you call I pray, I have the wisdom to answer. The call came in April of the year 1984. At least the call to start turning my life around and get some direction to it seemed pretty clear at that point.
That moment is also etched in my mind and was a moving experience. However, this whole thing is not about me. It is about knowing God and His Word and having the faith to live by that Word. In the course of this testimony, I left out a lot of the details, because, while they are important to me, they are not what this is all about. It is about a revelation I have had over the years in my time in the Word of God. There is nothing new here that has not been there all the time. It is just looking at it all from a different perspective and saying why is this here? What does it actually mean?
To me, it means if we are willing to get into and truly search his Word, the answers are there. The whole plan is laid out for us to see. We just need to open our eyes. The stories are not for entertainment, but for enlightenment. All I am about write and explain came from asking God to answer one simple question. He has been over twenty years answering it. The answer gets more and more detailed as time goes on.
Many years ago, when I first started walking the way the Lord wanted me to walk, at least I felt it was the way he wanted me to walk, many things troubled my mind. Some things I could not grasp. Had I any clue how detailed the answer would be I might have tried to change my profession, had I felt called in that way. To this day I have not felt called, just blessed. At least that was the way it was till I started this project. This has become a consuming fire. Often I wonder if I have waited too long or put it off too long, but I do not feel that is the case. There is a purpose to all that God does, and, after, all this time I know He would have put a boot under me or sent the message to another. Only time will tell, but it is my belief I will be here for the rapture. Sooner or later “it will happen.” My belief is that we are closer to sooner than we are to later. My recurring question is, will I know that person I was walking with in my vision when I meet him?
There is a certain irony about all of this. At the time I had my heart attack I had that peace about me. Over the last fourteen years it has been a struggle, but I have finally returned to that point in life. The last fourteen years have allowed me to share my experiences with others. Hopefully inspiring them to trust and follow God. The Lord has prepared my path and I am ready to follow it wherever it leads me. Having lived my life in Gabbatha, You will find that in John 19:13 and it is only used one time in the Bible, it means the pavement, which means the place of judgment. We will be judged by how we have walked our lives.