God’s Call from War Maker to Peacemaker

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   “And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:

And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?

And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.”  (Acts 9:3-6)

 

To my earliest memories, I was aware of my reality of God, as exampled by my mom and grandmothers.   The problem was, I did not know God, as He is, until age 30.

I was a good kid until I began my second year of High School.   That year began a course I would follow and improve upon up to my Damascus Road in January of 1978.   That year in High School and onward, because of shyness and peer pressure, I pretended to be a rebellious and clown-like personality.    I had a reputation on campus that I did not know the extent of until I was in the military.

I had been in service for about eight months when a fellow I had never met before moved into my barracks, taking the top bunk right next to mine.  He immediately recognized me from High School.   In casual conversation, he admitted he knew of my then reputation, and that of my friends, and most fearfully avoided the places we hung out.

Later, I volunteered an assignment in Vietnam.  Being nineteen, I concluded that somehow my life would end during that next year.   This heightened my inner drive toward rebellion.  I knew the rules, they just did not always apply to me, or so I thought.

As part of my on base incoming processing, our shop chief, a Senior Master Sergeant, was to give me an instructional interview on the job sight.  He put that off for nearly two weeks, and when he did show up, he was very drunk.   In front of all these new workmates, he humiliated me with poor treatment and foul language.

As the Sergeant left, I muttered louder than I had intended, “He will regret ever treating me this way.”  

The next night at work, I could feel a difference in the way the other men treated me, a kind of polite respect.  I later discovered that sometime in the wee hours of the morning, someone had beaten that Senior Master Sergeant near to death, in fact, I never saw him again after that night of humiliation.   To my knowledge, the one who actually attacked him remained unknown, and, it may have been because everyone assumed I had made good on my threat.

Again, a reputation was born that worked to my advantage in my state of rebellion.   No one of any rank bothered me, and, even in my rebelliousness, I was good at my job.

Because of the heightened war effort, there was a time we had to work 16-hour shifts.   That makes for a long day and a short night.  One late night after a long shift, I skipped chow, rested in my tent, and began to drink.   Apparently, I dosed off then awakened by our First Sergeant.   He was yelling something about a change in the duty-roster, and that I was late for CQ Duty that night.

Tired, drunk, and now must work the rest of the night only to begin my next 16-hour shift with the morning light.   I was enraged!

I found that the CQ Office not only had an old manual typewriter, but also a kind of stateside reference book listing State Senators with addresses.

A couple of weeks later, I got an official looking envelop during mail call.   It was from a Senator’s office in Los Angeles, California!   What in the world was this about?   A staff secretary was writing to inform me that they had received my letter and was sending it on to Washington DC to the Senator’s office there while in session.  I had to read that several times.   What letter; I did what?

A copy of my letter was enclosed!  

In my drunken, angered, state of mind, I had no memory of writing a letter, let alone sending one.   However, everything I wrote in the letter was true.   Nevertheless, we are not supposed to write to Congressmen.   We have a chain of command we must follow.  Oh well, no worries.   Who will seriously listen to my rants?

Apparently, Washington DC will listen.   Later one day, my First Sergeant came into my tent in obvious concern.  All he said was, “Come down to my office right away!”

In his office, he calmly explained that he had been in conversations with our squadron, base, and wing commanders.   It seems that a Congressional investigation of the entire base was now under way.   It was so serious that of these officers, none would speak to or reprimand me for fear of Congressional interference with their promotion eligibilities.  They also assumed that if I had written one letter I might write a second.

Another notch carved into the handle of a rebellious reputation.  For the rest of my time in Vietnam, everyone treated me as a friend, no matter his or her rank.   Yeah, I took advantage of it, but again, I did my job very well.

This reputation followed me back stateside to my next duty station.  By this time, I enjoyed and took advantage of a kind of hero status among the younger troops, and the older seemed nervously wary.  Through all these years, God was a distant and vague concept in my mind.

This same attitude and rebellion followed me into my first civilian job.   I was always good at my work, and kept my rebellion under enough control that my job was never in jeopardy.   Marriage a family seemed to come quickly.

A new acquaintance came into my personal space.  Death walked in one day unannounced, and he made it clear he would stay a while.    Stay, he did!

My wife’s youngest brother tragically killed in a freeway accident in Orange County, California; no one prepared for that, whoever is, after all?   His death came just a few days before the birth of his first child.   I grieved so hard over all these sorrowful details.

I was determined, in my grief; I had to discover how to communicate with the dead.   I must tell him that his baby girl was born and beautiful.  I would visit the grave nearly every day.   Each visit had me speaking to an unmarked grave hoping I would hear an answer.   Eventually, I began to study Satanism and witchcraft seeking how I might be able to communicate with Jack.

Months of daily coming to the grave had taken its toll on my mind and emotions—each day, in deep grief, hoping that the one I spoke to would finally hear my sobbing words.   In reality, the only one I contacted was the darkest darkness of human existence; the demonic world was very eager to listen and guide.

Then came January 1, 1978; on this day, at first, my grief was more intense than at other times.  This day I was not alone.   For the first time in nearly two years of coming, others were with me.

We were viewing together for the first time the newly installed Military grave marker we had fought so hard to acquire for Jack.  Now, it was no longer just a plot of unmarked grass.  Now, his name cemented to the earth before us.

Almost as quickly as we had arrived, my young niece, who was just learning to read pretty well, broke into uncontrollable wailing.  She had seen his name.  Her crying, of course, had a profound effect on the rest of us.   The rest of us—presumably mature adults, began to cry along with her.

It was at a point where it seemed the pain would never end, at least for me, that my long-time friend and brother-in-law, fell hard to his knees and began to speak aloud, through his own tears, to someone he called, “Father”.

Something strange, yet wonderful, happened as he prayed; an unusual peace came over me as I listened to him pour out his heart to God.  I could not explain the feeling I was having, but I was drawn to it.  It was not just a peace; it was a Presence, and at that moment, I would have given anything to live in that Presence forever.    This is what I had been missing and searching for nearly 30 years.  My rebellion was melting away.   Pretense was over.   I did not understand it; could not explain it, but I knew this was what I was seeking for my life.

This was the beginning of my Damascus Road experience.    On this path, the Lord gave all of Himself to me as I prayed, “LORD, what would You have me to do?”     — No longer a war maker, but a peacemaker!

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Jerry McCullah has been involved in various prayer ministries since 1993 and is currently pastor of Green Valley Bible Chapel of Green Valley, Ca. As CSBC Prayer Consultant, Jerry McCullah is available to assist churches and associations in the training and development of personal prayer and prayer ministries, through consultations, seminars, concerts of prayer, and prayer revivals. As Impact Prayer International President, Jerry McCullah is able to work across denominational and international borders to do the same. Jerry: God has called me to encourage Christians into a more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ; one that is real and personal, which comes through a life of prayer. The world needs praying people! God seeks praying people! I am available to assist your churches in the training and development of a personal prayer life, and church prayer renewal, through seminars, prayer retreats, concerts of prayer, and prayer revivals. My passion is to excite Christians to the possibilities prayer opens up before them. With God all things are possible! Would you give me the honor to work with you to the fulfillment of these words: “Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven . . . deliver us from the evil one” (Matthew 6:10,13)? Let’s schedule something for your precious people! Contact Info: 15724 Calle Hermosa Green Valley, Ca. 91390 661-270-9671 https://www.facebook.com/jerry.mccullah https://jerrymccullah.wix.com/ipi-prayerconsulting

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