She may be small, but she's scrappy!! :o) Of course, chaplains are non-combatants so otherwise we would have another vest on over the IBA with all sorts of weapon-related things strapped to it. Thankfully we don't have to deal with all of that.
As my unit prepares to deploy, there is much training and prep that has to be done. Every drill is packed full of things they have to complete to be ready to go. And most of the training has to be in the exact same environment they will experience over there ... which includes completing the tasks while wearing full battle rattle. I don't know if you can tell from this picture, but all of that stuff adds a lot of weight. The IBA alone weighs about 25-30 lbs! In fact, a couple of drills back, we did a first aid training exercise and I played one of the victims. I was dressed in full battle rattle and dropped to the ground as if I'd been shot. Do you know that I woke up the next day feeling like Rocky Balboa had pummeled me when I wasn't looking! I finally realized it was from the IBA pressing in on my ribs when I fell to the ground. This thing is exhausting to wear around for very long, much less to be doing a lot of activity in it.
Then I thought about Ephesians 6 ...
10 A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
I've read this passage a million times. But it is starting to take on a whole new meaning for me. The reality is that many times we don't want to put on the armor of God. It's time consuming to gear up ... and sometimes the weight of it feels like more of a disadvantage to our effectiveness than an advantage. But as a general rule, you don't hear a lot of soldiers complaining about the IBAs. Do you know why? Because they know those 30 lb vests can be the difference in them coming home to a parade or a funeral. Why can't we see the benefit of the armor of God the same way? Why can't I??
God has offered us supernatural protection for the supernatural battle we are engaged in everyday (whether we are aware of it or not). Why in the world would we refuse it and insist on going out unprotected, vulnerable, susceptible, and all but wearing bulls eyes on our chests?
More and more I am coming to realize that some of God's best blessings and provisions we refuse and/or balk at because they appear difficult or inconvenient at first. How short-sighted and juvenile of us. We should be suiting up everyday and thanking God for the provision of His protection!
One final note ... there is one other thing in common in this analogy. In God's armor, the only offensive tool is the Word of God (and verse 18 seems to indicate prayer is one as well). As a chaplain, guess what my only offensive tools are in battle? Yep, prayer and the Word of God ... oh, and a Chaplain's assistant who is armed and poised to protect me. Hmmm, I wonder who that would be in the spiritual scenario? (Hint: His initials are JC.) And do you know how a Chaplain best partners with the Chaplain assistant while under fire? You stay as close to him as possible always keeping him in front of you leading the way. Somehow I feel like I've heard that before.