May 29, 2023
Michael George ’07
Never once before had “military service” been included in my post-college plans. In fact, it was probably the last thing in the world I wanted to do, but there I was signing on the dotted line and stating the oath of enlistment in November 2007, a mere six months after receiving my Bachelor’s Degree from Asbury the previous May.
What can I say? A global recession and a hefty pile of student loans can have quite an effect on one’s life; add in the fact that this hopeless romantic also spent that week proposing to his-then girlfriend (and now wife of 15 years) and it was quite a time in my life. I decided to make the most of my situation and approach it the best way I knew how at the time, by planning physically, mentally, and emotionally as much as possible. Two weeks after my wife and I wed, I was off to Boot Camp and training for the next three months. Even after clearing those hurdles, I was then stationed on what was at the time the most deployed ship in the Navy (three consecutive years of nine-month deployments). Spiritually, I felt desperate and I was frustrated. “All I wanted…”, I’d say to God, “…was the simple stuff (i.e. – A loving wife, 2.5 kids, white picket fence, etc.). Is that so hard?!” Apparently, it was.
But the Lord was with us. During the ensuing three years of ‘sea duty’ I worked harder than I had ever in my life on tasks that I never would have seen myself undertaking. Those whom I served with seemingly spanned the entire spectrum of the human experience, from former gang members to farm kids, college grads to immigrants; God spoke to me in many ways during that time and I began to see a bit more what He was doing. I thought of it as my own personal “refiner’s fire”, and by the time I was near the end of my initial tour of duty I decided to reenlist and get the chance to serve on shore. This time, God took us to Japan (fulfilling my wife’s lifelong dream). Over the course of three years there, the opportunity was present for me to not only get ample family time, but also pursue and complete my master’s degree and work on a daily basis with many American Federal Civilian employees. I consistently picked their brains, knowing that I would be getting out of the Navy at some point in the future, and this ended up paying off in the form of a Job waiting for me upon separation near my hometown in Ohio, which I’ve been in since 2014.
I am still amazed at the path God has led me on. I am still amazed at how He provides. I look back and see how much “I’ve accomplished”, but every bit of that is because of Him. In no way was Military Service part of my initial plan, but He has worked it out for His good and continues to today more than I could have ever imagined. Take heart if you are going through your own fires and trials! I can attest that God hears your cries (even if they are coming from the bowels of a ship sailing in the middle of the ocean). I needed to be humbled so that I could develop better “eyes to see and ears to hear,” and I now realize there was no other way.
Prayer focus: “Thy will be done.”