January 23

For surely, O Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield. —Psalm 5:12

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Henderson of the 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Division was in command of 1,200 Marines in southern Afghanistan. Just two months into his deployment, he was ordered to capture a Taliban stronghold known as Jugroom Fort. It was surrounded by tunnels, machine-gun bunkers, minefields, IEDs, and defended by up to 400 Taliban fighters.

Anthony’s battalion eventually moved into the fort to engage directly with the enemy.

“It was the most vicious fighting I had ever seen,” he reported. “Grenades and rocket fire were exchanged. The enemy was around everyone and everyone was around the enemy.”

When the firefight finally subsided, the Marines retreated to nearby shelter. The next day, intelligence reports indicated that the enemy was leaving and heading toward the Pakistani border. It became a major victory for the ISAF forces and Anthony ‘s Marines.

“We spent the next two weeks clearing the fort and the surrounding villages where the Taliban had stocked weapons and ammunition,” said Anthony. Back in the U.S., Anthony reflected, “It’s humbling and fulfilling to lead Marines. I have a constant yearning to be back there and amongst them.”

On the Battle for Jugroom Fort, he concluded, “Your preparations for those types of moments span your entire career. At 18 years of education and training, it’s what prepared me to listen and learn.”

Years of experiences and struggles can culminate into single moments in our lives when we call upon all we have to survive. The challenge is, we may never know that moment until we are upon it. Press on today. Each moment is an investment, not only into your future, but also to those whom you serve.

EVERLASTING GOD, You waste nothing. Everything counts. Help me to remember that during the mundane days, yet call on all You have taught me when the madness breaks out.