Sunday, July 12, 2009


That I May Lead This People

Followers of this blog will recognize that my posts have been very sparse since taking command on 23 June. This is, of course, not mere coincidence. Leading a unit like the Honor Guard consumes not merely time, but also physical and emotional energy in large quantities.

Of course, it's not just this blog which has felt the impact, but also my family, friendships, and church relationships. On the other hand, I do sense that my relationship with God has been rekindled in its intensity, as my awareness of my need for His strength and wisdom has increased. The weight of responsibility, as well as running into the "vertical learning curve", has certainly been humbling in an important way.

Each day has had more than its share of exhilarations and frustrations ... there have been inspiring ceremonies to witness; punishments to decide and mete out; personal tragedies and crises to navigate; strategic direction to set; expectations from above, below and personal to manage; and 15-hour days to survive.

In all, Solomon's request--"Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people ..."--seems appropriate to this time. I am, however, grateful for the encouragement I have received along the way.

I received the following early last week from Pastor Allen--who together with his wife Miriam attended my ceremony--and have been waiting for the opportunity to post it:
As I write this letter, it is a week since your installation as the new commander of the Honor Guard. I am sure you are enjoying each day you serve and I hope it is a challenge that you will steadily rise to, to the expectation of the unit and to your own personal sense of accomplishment.
Miriam and I were duly impressed with the ceremony, the words of the outgoing commander and your words, especially the ones directed to me. I was glad I could attend and see you receive this great honor, and I know [Mrs. Jailer] and the children are very proud of you. You know we are, and I wish with all my heart [Presbyter] could have been there to witness this milestone in your life.*

Please inform the officer who was in charge of the Honor Guard (I am referring to the African-American, tall and with a strong voice of command) that he did an excellent job. So much was going on that I did not get a chance to thank him myself.

And I wish to tell you that I have been using the Airman's Bible for devotions. It is a fine translation. Years ago I used the Holman Study Bible and this was before seminary. The spine is broken and the pages are falling out and so it was a joy to get a new one.

Also that was a special thing you did when you presented me with the commander's medal. It is something I will always treasure.

You are doing a good work as a military servant to your country and a servant of Christ. May the Lord grant you strength and wisdom as you serve in these two roles along with that of husband and father.

God bless you.
Your father in the faith,
* (Note: Presbyter wanted to come but time and financial considerations constrained him--I advised him that when I finally relinquish command would be a better time to witness the ceremony.)


  1. I have heard seminary professors confess that they avoid Christian bumper stickers due to concern that they might do something while driving that would dishonor Christ's name. That's an illustration of how perilous the walk can be when God's people enter the public sphere.

    You're certainly out there, Jailer, but I don't find myself apprehensive: I know you rely on God's grace daily, and trust Him to use you as a fine example before men of what that grace can do. I will pray for that daily.

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