For Sunday, a story of faith…
how Allen West’s faith
got him through
a very tough time in his life.
You may recall that, in 2003, West — at the time, a battalion commander in the 4th Infantry Division in Iraq — was threatened with court martial and a possible eight years in prison for having acted aggressively in getting an Iraqi policeman, who was refusing to talk, to give life-saving information about a planned ambush on West and his troops. West did not endanger the man’s life, but verbally threatened to, and then fired a pistol over the man’s head into a weapons-clearing barrel. The tactic worked: The man immediately divulged all the details about the planned attack, and American lives were saved. Moreover, from that day until the day Lt. Col. West was relieved of his leadership position, there were no more ambushes on American troops in that area — although it was one of the most hostile zones in Iraq, being the area around Saddam Hussein’s hometown.
West immediately reported his infraction of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and never denied or covered up what he’d done. Several weeks later, he was given the choice of court martial, or taking early retirement and losing all his retirement benefits. He chose the latter. In the end, however — perhaps in part because of a massive show of public support, including letters from 94 Congressmen — after paying a fine of $5,000, West was able to retire with full benefits. At his hearing, his defense attorney asked him if he’d do it again. West famously replied, “If it’s about the lives of my men and their safety, I’d go through hell with a gasoline can.”
Unfortunately, during the deliberations, along with the stress of facing a possible court martial and prison sentence, West also had to endure being pilloried by many in the media, and — worst of all — knowing that his school-age daughters were being taunted at school about their father.
In an interview at the time, West told WorldNetDaily:
“Without God and my Savior Jesus Christ, I would have cracked a long time ago.”
Not only did West’s faith see him through, but it was strengthened in the process.
West told WND that during his ordeal “God has revealed to me much Scripture,” including Bible passages from Joshua chapter one, the book of Job, the Psalms of David and particularly Jeremiah 29:11-13.
“God has taken me down into a valley of humiliation to strengthen and build my faith and has a great work for me,” he said. “My goal now is to retire and teach high school and continue to make a difference in the development of our young people. Whenever I do return home it will be a testament to God and I will give Him all praise, honor, and glory. I may be cast down but not conquered. John 16:33 sums it all up!”
I decided to re-read some of the verses that meant so much to Allen West, especially since those verses from Jeremiah are very dear to me as well, having gotten me through a very trying time in my own life:
“For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your good and not for harm, to give you a hope and a future. Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me, says the Lord….” (Jer. 29:11-14a)
And the words of Jesus, encouraging His disciples the night before He himself was to be killed, have comforted and strengthened countless souls ever since:
“I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But do not fear; I have overcome the world!” (Jn. 16:33)