In the days following 9/11, I was alerted that my unit was being deployed to Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. I was in command of a US Army Battalion. My Command Sergeant Major saw a Dog Tag engraved with,
“I will be strong and courageous, I will not be terrified or discouraged, for the Lord my God is with me wherever I go. Joshua 1:9”
We believed these Words would strengthen and encourage the Soldiers within the Battalion, most of whom were young with no combat experience. We contacted Shields of Strength to request a discount for a bulk order of 500 dog tags, one for each of our Soldiers. Kenny Vaughan, founder and CEO of Shields of Strength, overnighted the dog tags to us and he would not accept payment.
These simple dog tags strengthened and encouraged Soldiers. Throughout the deployment, I saw Soldiers pull out their dog tag and meditate on the Words engraved on it. That single Bible verse brought peace, encouragement, and strength to them. Knowing that God told Joshua, to be strong and courageous, to not be afraid or discouraged, meant that Joshua was in fact terrified and discouraged. However, he moved forward into battle with the knowledge that God was with him wherever he went.
God promises the same thing to everyone. He is with us wherever we go. That assurance by God; comforted Soldiers more than their training, equipment, or support of the United States Government, especially when they faced challenges beyond their control.
Often, these Soldiers would seek out a fellow Soldier, Chaplain, or me to learn more about God and His Son Jesus Christ. After learning more about God’s forgiveness, unconditional love, grace, and salvation, soldiers accepted Jesus Christ to be their Lord and Savior.