When a soldier deploys, there are many people left behind who struggle with that absence. A loved one is gone, and even if they come back, it won’t be for a long time. How can the church and individuals help those left behind?
A Common Struggle
Numbers from 2017 show 1.3 million active duty military personnel in the U.S. Armed Forces. Those men and women all have families or people they love who are left at home during deployment. That is a lot of people affected by the military.
Steve Prince, an Army veteran and Director of Warriors Set Free, a division of Set Free Ministries, says that deployment especially can be very hard for families left behind. There is a period of grief when a loved one deploys.
“It’s another tough season of life when a veteran or when a service member is gone or when a family has to deal with… it’s a loss of having the mother or father deployed.”
Stepping into the Pain
Families left behind must find a way to continue on, even though their schedules and plans are suddenly upended. They often feel alone or struggle with the notion that their family member may not come home.
So how can the Church help? There is a huge need for family support. Prince suggests that the Church steps in as they would for other tough seasons.
“So the church can come alongside and care about them just like everybody else. But understand that they’re in a tough season.” Prince continues, “so similar to when someone dies, you know, what do we as a church attempt to do? We cook them meals, we shovel their driveway, you know, we send them a card. A parent being gone for a year out of a family is similar to them being… being dead.”
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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Anna Deckert
CALL TO ACTION
- Bring a meal to the family of a deployed soldier.
- Pray that God would give both deployed soldiers and their families peace during an especially difficult time.
- Thank a veteran or their family members for their sacrifice.