My week has been totally preoccupied, in a prayerful way, with the Transfiguration scriptures from last Sunday. Sr. Catherine has given a very insightful reflection about these scriptures earlier this week.
I found two roads converging this week in my Lenten prayers. Last weekend I was still deliberating what book I should use for my Lenten reading. I just was looking for something outside the usual Lenten spiritual books. Sitting on my bookshelf was a book I bought a year ago on the sale shelf at Borders. God in the Foxholes fell into my bookshelf as I like those personal experiences of finding God in all parts of life. However, the time has not been right to open it. Last weekend I picked it up as my Spirit just reached for it.
The book is a compilation of true stories of faith by men and women from the Civil War through the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Powerful experiences of finding God in the midst of life and death battle experiences. Men and women of faith being reinforced as well as men and women finding God for the first time. Miracles of soldiers surviving against all odds because of God’s care and their prayer. Miracles of soldiers doing the outrageous with a faith that carries them.
The Transfiguration is about the apostles recognizing Jesus in a profound experience. The bright aura around Him, the confirmation from God to His Son and the desire to remain with Jesus forever. It was, actually, a preparation for the life and death experiences Jesus and His followers will be facing the next 40 days. The stories in my book are profound experiences of recognizing God’s presence. In fact, several of the stories I read this week are transfiguration experiences. Men and women saw themselves wrapped in a white aura which protected them in a death moment of a battle. One soldier had a deeply personal experience of Jesus saying ‘I am with you my son’ and was saved from, what should have been, his death.
As Lent leads to the Passion, Death and Resurrection we are on the same journey as the disciples and the soldiers. We are transformed, transfigured and blessed in the most difficult moments of life. It is not an easy journey – just ask the disciples and the soldiers! It is about recognizing God in the moment, trusting His guidance, trusting ourselves to believe in the ultimate mystery that gives meaning to our life and death experiences.
Thanks for sharing your discovery of this book. Were all of the stories about positive, warm experiences of God amid war?
The stories were not all positive. The positive aspect was the touch of God recognized by the soldiers. But the experiences are tragic and sad. It is divided into sections with a theme. For instance, I am reading one section ‘Why me” about soldiers who were saved but others died. One story is a tearjerker..an injured man was rescued by his best buddy “no one left behind’ idea. His buddy was killed in the attempt but the injured man survived. There is a section regarding Chaplain stories too.
It is not refreshing reading in terms of uplifting experiences. All war is tragic and thus sad. However, the presence of God and of prayer changed the lives of soldiers many times. I like it for LEnt because it gets to the heart of death and resurrection. Not just the physical death but the letting go experiences. And the resurrection of finding God in the midst of everday life and extraordinary circumstances.
The author is Charles Sasser and I found it on amazon too, if you are interested.
Thanks for the additional description of the book–I’ll look it up. I’m working during my sabbatical on a book about experiences of divine affliction during and after trauma (often involving profound betrayal, like sexual abuse or domestic violence)–looking at a range of Christian ways of reading such experiences of God. I think there’s more than one faithful way to do so (one common one is to say such experiences are simply illusionary), but I’m most drawn to a way that involves regarding divine providence as really at play in those senses of divine abandonment or affliction (feeling separate from others, unable to trust, etc.), but in a way we only begin to fathom over time.
Amy I will be interested where your book will lead you. I lived through and recovered from physical & emotional abuse and experienced the effects of three generations of sexual abuse. I was able to intervene and stop a fourth generation of sexual abuse through a dream. My healing has come from following the Holy Spirit through Christian spiritual disciplines. Last June I began writing about this subject and may be approaching enough material for a book. Perhaps I’ll see you on the bookshelf! :0) I pray for the progress of your work.
I’d like to learn more about you experiences and your book, when your material is ripe enough. I blog fairly often on this website, so let me know when you’ve something shareable. I’m glad you’ve felt carried and enabled by the Spirit in your journey.