Fallujah, Iraq is a shanty of a town. Multi-level buildings make it a sniper’s haven. Clustered along the road, different size buildings provide cover for those that are seeking to do me harm. “Dear God, I do not want to die here!” The sound of tank tracks breaks through the bleakness of my thoughts. Apache gunships hover above my squad and I as we prepare to clear buildings to ensure that no insurgent gets behind us. The whoop, whoop, whoop of the rotors beats out the rhythm of impending death’s drum.
After three days of fighting, I am tired. Walking out of what used to be a vibrant city that teemed with life, it is now crumbling under the wreckage of war. Glancing to my left, I notice a pile of rocks. Without stopping I continue to make my way to where our Humvees are waiting. To my right I notice another pile of rocks. “Wait a minute! Rocks don’t grow in piles!” Fear gripped my heart. “I am going to die in this dump!”Backtracking, I see the flash in front of me, followed by the sharp crack as the IED explodes.
I have always liked flying except for this day. The explosion lifted me off the ground and flung me into the side of a vehicle. My impact into the vehicle broke my chin strap and knocked the spinal fluid out of my nose. Dazed, I could hear my childhood doctor talking to my mother. “Your son will always have seizures!” My parents would not listen. Year after year, one prayer after another, they sought God for my healing. On my 12thbirthday God healed me from epilepsy. Dr. Hartwig gave my parents the good news.“It is a miracle; your son shows no sign of seizure activity.”
I feel rough hands grab and shake me. “Freeman! Corporal Freeman!Snap out of it! Are you okay?” Shaking my head to clear it, I try to focus on the medic in front of me. Everything is blurry. Finally, I can make out the shape of the medic. After a quick pat down of my body, I nod my head. “Yeah doc, I am okay.” He continues to monitor me for a moment. “Blink your eyes Freeman, your eyes are uneven.” Blinking my eyes, they finally reset to their normal position. “We need to get out of here. You are gunning for us. Let’s go.” Entering the Humvee, we make our way back to base without incident.
Entering my room, my body trembling from the flood of adrenaline, I throw myself on my bed. Hot tears stream down my face. Anger grips my throat and try as I may, the words that burdened my heart refuse to come out. Suddenly, the sweetest presence of God Almighty fills my room. In my darkest hour, after running from the call of God on my life, He visits me. My heart beats with the fury of a thousand waterfalls, but God comforts me. “It has been so long since I have felt your presence. I am sorry that I ran from you.” After basking in His presence, I wipe the tears from my eyes. Composing myself, I grab a buddy and we head to the call center. Dialing my parents’ number, my mother answers the phone. “Son are you okay? God put you on my heart today, I have been praying for you….”