Camouflaged (2)

Camouflage is an adaptation that is used as a survival technique in the animal kingdom. It is a way for animals and even for humans to blend in with their environment. When my husband served in the Army during Desert Shield / Desert Storm, he was provided with desert camouflage uniforms known as the Six-Color Desert Pattern or sometimes referred to as Chocolate Chip Camouflage. The purpose of wearing the pattern of light tan, pale green and two-tone brown with black and white spots was to blend in with the desert sands of Saudi Arabia. The black and white spots were designed to mimic the appearance of pebbles and their shadows. Wearing a uniform of those desert colors was a way of being undetected by the enemy which helped to provide safety for the service members.

Dhahran, Saudi Arabia (June 1991)

Through some research, I found that animal camouflage is also referred to as cryptic coloration. Small animals such as lizards, snakes, insects and frogs blend in with their environment by using this unique adaptation to avoid becoming prey. These animals are often the same color as the leaves or twigs around them and some of the insects are even able to look like the twigs or leaves. They use camouflage to mask their location, identity and movement. One of the most beautiful and interesting animals to use camouflage is the Eastern Screech Owl. This little owl has the ability to hide in plain sight in tree holes with its feathers camouflaged to match tree bark. The camouflage is used as a means to protect its home and to capture unsuspecting prey which venture close.

Eastern Screech Owl

In my previous blog post, I wrote about the command of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount to Christians to let their lights shine before the world. I wrote about the green bean patch in our garden and about how the green beans were so well hidden in the bushes. I wrote about how sin causes us to blend in with the world rather than standing out and being separate as representatives of Christ. Since that last blog post, I returned to our garden to gather more beans from our little patch. This time while picking, a few beans fell from the plants to the ground below, becoming lost beneath the thick bushes. It made me think of the dangers of blending in, of having the idea that no harm will come by having partnership with the world. It’s a frightening thought…lostness. Yet, by looking at the lifestyles of many who proclaim Christ, it appears that the possibility of lostness does not occur to some. It seems that they believe they can look and act just like the world without detrimental consequences. It is really a very dangerous place to be. Christians are certainly in the world, but by no means are meant to be of the world. Instead of adding more and more layers of camouflage, why not be obedient to God and clothe ourselves in the righteousness of Christ? It is in Him where safety is found.

HOPE NUGGETS:

*I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness [Isaiah 61:10a]

*Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.  [1 John 2:15-17]

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The Storm

View from our window of Typhoon Dinah, Okinawa, 1987

November 1990, Okinawa Japan. Back then, I was a young Army wife and mother of 2 little boys. The service-members and families stationed on the small subtropical island in the Pacific were on edge, anxious about what we were being told might come. No, this time it wouldn’t be another tropical storm or typhoon (the name for a hurricane in the Pacific) that we’d spend days preparing for and weathering through. This time it would be saying goodbye to our guys – our husbands, our fathers. We had followed the news of the buildup for months, daily watching the departure of more and more troops from the peace and tranquility of life as we knew in the Far East. And with the steady buildup of American and allied troops in the Middle East, we wondered if we were ultimately saying our final goodbyes. The end of the world, or so it seemed at the time.

My soldier, the father of my sweet boys, when presented with the question of volunteering his advanced training in communications to serve in Saudi Arabia, bravely and dutifully answered with a Yes. A man of character and honor. A staff sergeant, known for his strong leadership, commitment to God, his country, and his family and to serving them well. He would pack up and travel to the other side of the world just weeks before Christmas, where he’d join with other honorable service-members in the desert sands of Saudi Arabia, a country and culture as far removed from our island life as could be.

I was left alone. Left alone with my fears and the uncertainty of what Desert Shield would mean for our family. Left alone with the task of comforting a 3 year old who cried every day for weeks for his daddy. Left alone with a 5 year old who was adjusting to his first year of attending school in a Kindergarten class at Zukeran Elementary. Left alone to find a way to adjust to the responsibility of running a household with just the 3 of us. For how long? Only God knew.

The buildup to The Storm continued, until mid-January 1991, when combat operations officially began. Would it lead to Armageddon, to World War III, as news reporters implied? Those questions did not go unnoticed by young military wives whose husbands were right smack in the middle of it all. I’m sure the anxiety was felt by our family members back in the states as well. 

Yet, was I alone? Was I reaalllyyyy alone? God had provided me with a wonderful church family, good neighbors, and a support group of “left behind” wives of other branches of the military. Then there was God. The One, the only One who broke through to calm my fears and who spoke to me so audibly it was as if the words were uttered directly from His mouth. Words that referred to my soldier, the guy who by way of military travel through the U.S., was over 14,000 miles away….

My Hope Nugget from God:

“Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you…No man shall be able to stand before you…I will be with you…Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” (portions of Joshua 1: 3, 5, 9)

June 1991