“We Make Marines,” the sign shouted as I drove beneath it. It was a steel version of a Parris Island drill instructor making sure I got the message.
I was out of my element, and a bit unnerved. The gate sentry made me park within eyesight so he could run a background check. “I’m supposed to be on the access list,” I explained. He chuckled. I complied.
Upon my release, I drove through the base to the homes along the waterfront. I was visiting my Auburn roommate from long ago. Captain Terry Gordon, USN, was set to retire after 30 years as a chaplain to Marines and Sailors.
The next day, it took three Marine generals, a letter from George W. Bush, a video message from Charles Barkley, and a Marine band to celebrate Gordon’s final bosun’s whistle. They also celebrated his family for their support. He traveled the world to advance the Navy’s mission. As a chaplain, he advanced the Kingdom of God.
The same day, newly minted U.S. Marines were graduating from 13 weeks of basic training. They had endured separation from their families, physical and mental endurance training, and The Crucible – the final transformation from recruit to Marine.
One was looking back over his career. Others were looking forward to theirs. All were transitioning. As are we. Life comes at us in seasons, doesn’t it? You are always transitioning, adapting to changes, even while you wish things would stay the same.
Life transitions can be a steady current or a lashing typhoon. Either way, you need something to steady you. By faith in the Lord Jesus Christ you find God’s unchangeable purpose, to offer a hope that makes sense of life. We “have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast” (Heb. 6:18-19).
Some young recruits did find the anchor of their souls that previous weekend. At a Parris Island chapel service, over 100 of them indicated they wanted a personal faith in Christ. Amen.