Operation Overdue Justice Excerpt
‘Jessica’s Overdue Justice’
(Romans 5: 6-8) “…For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commends His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us…”
I left Dianna to go into the house herself and headed off to the garage and I saw Jess sitting on my tool bench. I could stay strong in front of the lads or even just by myself, but I couldn’t hide anything from Jess, I immediately broke into tears. Moving towards her, I could see a pained look on her face and as I stepped in for a hug, the tears just flowed as she looked into the face of her tired and broken husband but for me, it was so great to see her. Hugging her tight made me feel a sense of relief almost like I could stop being strong and let my defenses down, but her tears seemed all the more pained than I’d heard before and I could tell she was hurting for me. “Oh my baby…I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry Greg…I’m so glad you’re home…oh thank you Lord” For a fleeting moment I felt that anger rise against God, but it was short lived when I saw my daughter Michaela through the garage window waiting outside in the dark. I smiled and motioned her to come in and join us, I could see that she was red-eyed and really concerned, so I tried my best to smile and reassure her. “Daddy…are you okay?” “No…no my love I’m not…but I’ll be okay…come here and give me a hug…oh, I missed you princess” “Are you going to be okay Daddy?” “Yes love, I will” “Promise me…promise me you’ll be okay…Daddy promise me!” “I promise sweetheart…my girls will fix me up won’t you?” Both Jess and Michaela smiled, they’d seen me a little broken down before but I could tell that they were a little shocked to see me this way. “Daddy…did the little boy make it?” “Yes love…yes he did, they flew him to Tokyo” “I’m glad Daddy.” “Is it okay if Dianna bunks in the spare room for a couple of nights?” “Of course it is Dad, I’ll leave you to it, see you in the morning.”
That evening it took me around two hours to fall asleep which was quite odd for me. Normally I’d hit the pillow and I’d be out, but my mind just kept rolling over and over about Camp Number Two. It was so bad that Jess had even hinted about wanting to be with me but I just couldn’t. I was frustrated and overtired, I felt dirty after having been there and I couldn’t bring myself to touch my precious wife. Before long though I was asleep, but I was awake again in what felt like two minutes pouring with sweat after a nightmare to the sensation of my wife’s arms gripping tightly around my upper body. “It’s okay…it’s okay…Greg…you’re dreaming, Greg, it’s okay…shhh, I’ve got you” “Oh man…phew…phew” I sat up to slow my breathing and to try and calm down. I’d never had a nightmare like that before, in fact I barely ever dreamt at all but the dream was so real leaving me with a great sense of fear. “Greg love tell me, tell me what the dream was about” “Oh it was just a…phew” “You were saying Michaela’s name over and over again love” “Oh…phew…I was dreaming that it was her….that it was her wrapped up in the barbed-wire…there was thick glass and I couldn’t break through…I was punching the glass with my Armour….then I was trying to shoot out the glass…she was screaming….I couldn’t get to her.” “Oh Greg…I don’t think it takes a genius to figure out why you had a dream like that my love” “I know…man it was so real…I couldn’t get to her….I’m just going to get a drink of water okay?”
Once I’d grabbed a drink, I headed back through our hallway to go back to bed, but I was overcome with a need to see Michaela’s face, so I stopped in her doorway to look at her while she slept. “Daddy” “Yes love…oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to wake you…can I come in?” “Of course Dad, did you have a nightmare? Was it about me?” As I sat on the edge of the bed, I nodded and looked at her face;, she smiled and grabbed my hand. “What happened?” “I was dreaming that you were the one wrapped in the barbed-wire…I couldn’t get to you…I em…phew” “I’m so proud of you Daddy” “I know you are love…thank you” “No…no I don’t think you do know…you know when we watched on the News about Camp Number Two? I knew it was you filming that footage, I knew it…I could see all of those poor, scared people as you guys walked through the building…I tried to imagine what it would be like if I was one of those prisoners and then seeing you coming through those doors to rescue me…I’m so proud of what you’ve done Daddy, I’m just so proud” Michaela put her hand on my face to wipe away my tears and began to cry but her smile gave me so much comfort. “Dad, you know I miss you so much when you’re gone but I always know that you’re somewhere in the world rescuing people…you’ve saved so many people Daddy” “I’ve killed a lot of people too Michaela…I’m just starting to get tired of all this…tired of missing you love” “I’m tired of missing you too” “Phew…how did you get to be so strong sweetheart?” “Well…you might be one of the best soldiers in the world Dad, but I’m the daughter of one of the best soldiers in the world, besides…I’ve been taught by the best, Jesus Christ.” My anger rose again at her last remark but I was so overcome with pride in my daughter.
The following night seemed to be the same as before, I couldn’t sleep and again I’d kindly refused my wife’s advances but I knew she’d understand. I just couldn’t get the faces of those prisoners out of my head, but I had an even greater problem now in that I couldn’t stop asking the question, why would God sit back and allow something like that to happen? How could He allow such suffering in the world? After a while though I began to drift off in my thoughts and fall asleep, but like the night before, the nightmares began again and this time it was Jess in the barbed-wire. As I began waking up I could feel how rigid I was lying on the bed, I was sweating and gripping onto the bed, but as I came around, I realised I had a hold of my wife’s arm. I turned my head to see Jess with her face buried in a pillow to hide her pain, all the while she was hitting my arm trying to make me let go. Like every Armour Infantry Corps Soldier, I was ten times stronger than the average man so this was potentially serious. I froze and looked at the face of my wife, I felt a feeling of disbelief and began to panic that I’d hurt her badly but Jess smiled and put her hands on my face. I had to get up out of bed, I just stood there, I couldn’t look at her, I wanted to get out of the room and Jess could tell.
“Greg, don’t you dare leave this room…Greg…I’m okay, love I’m okay” She was kneeling on the bed speaking so softly, I could tell her arm hurt by the way she was holding it. After a few moments she came forward slowly and stood in front of me, I couldn’t look at her but I could look at her arm. I took it gently and Jess wiggled her fingers to reassure me she was okay, but I couldn’t, I just couldn’t look at her. “Greg, look at me…look at me…Greg” “I told you Jess….I promised you I’d never hurt you, I…” “You didn’t Greg…oh baby you didn’t” “Does it hurt?” “A little yeh, but hey, I’m an AIC Soldier’s wife, I’m pretty tough you know” I gently picked up her arm again and cried, I just couldn’t believe I’d hurt my wife. “Come on…come through and I’ll make you a nice cup of tea Greg.” I headed through to our sunroom while Jess went to the kitchen, but I felt so alone, I had to go through and see her. When I walked into the kitchen I could see the kettle boiling, but Jess was leaning over the counter with some frozen food on her arm, she was exhaling like she was in pain. “Greg love I’m okay…just cold that’s all…come on I’m fine…what were you dreaming about love?” “The same…but it was you this time…you were wrapped up in the barbed-wire screaming…the soldiers were coming and I couldn’t get to you” “You know Greg…God made you this way.”
I’d heard this line from Jess before and passed it off as part of her faith but for some reason, it just made me all the angrier inside. Thankfully though, I was too concerned about my wife to bother opening my mouth. “God made tough men like you so that you could protect people love…He built you to take things others can’t…it’s what makes me so proud, so proud to be the wife of an Armour Infantry Corps Soldier…you’ve saved so many lives, you’re so amazing” “I’ve ended a lot of lives too Jess…did you know that I killed over six hundred soldiers at Camp Number Two? Didn’t even pull a trigger Jess…just pushed a button and the Camp’s Soldier Barracks went up in smoke…phew…just another memory in a thousand I’d rather forget.” “But you guys rescued over five thousand people Greg and countless others from going to that hell on earth…when I was watching the footage you shot on the News wow…I was so conflicted…it was like I wanted you home….then I was so glad you were there to rescue them but em…I was just hoping you’d punish those men for what they’d done to those poor people…part of me wanted you to hurt them” “That doesn’t sit too well with that Cross round your neck does it love?” “No…no it doesn’t Greg…it was difficult for us to watch, I can’t even imagine what it must have been like to see it but…that’s why you were made the way you were made love…I’m so proud of you.” For some reason, I felt like I couldn’t breathe like the walls were closing in but I didn’t want to alarm Jess any more than she already was, so I made my excuses and headed out for a walk in the dark.
As I walked up towards the countryside, I just couldn’t understand why I was feeling the way I did. I’d seen many terrible things in my time, but this seemed way beyond what I could handle. I just felt angry, confused and frustrated. I needed something to blow off some steam, like a pressure relief, but I couldn’t think what. The further I walked the worse it got and before long I was a mile or so east of our house in the forest behind our estate. It was a dark night, but the moon was shining through the trees, the place looked nice. I found a small clearing and sat down and looked up at the night sky and tried my best to calm my mind, but I wasn’t doing well, it was like I couldn’t put my thoughts in order or place them in the right boxes and it was frustrating me. I kept seeing the face of that young East Asia State boy wrapped up in the barbed wire, then thinking of Michaela and my wife’s comments about God. I shook my head hard, how could God allow this? How could He sit there and allow these things to happen? What kind of world was this? He loved this creation? He died for this? What on earth was this all about? I was so frustrated, I needed answers, I needed someone to explain this to me to give me some sort of peace. With every passing minute, my rage was building to a boiling point.
I stood up and walked around in the clearing and as I did, I felt the Presence of God surround me as I walked. I frowned, I’d imagined something like this happening from some of the things Jess had told me in the past. I thought if it was me I would hit the floor, but strangely enough, I kept pacing in my frustration. It was so real, it just felt like someone smiling at me, at peace, clarity, but I was so wound up, my body was tense and my blood was boiling. I was frustrated, but I was scared, it was like someone had their hand around my throat. I wanted so much to say something, but I was afraid at the same time, this was actually Jesus. I sat back down and looked up at the sky and that feeling of a smile kept shining in my mind, so much so that I began to weep, not cry but really weep. The weep turned into a sob and for the first time in a long time, I could feel my pain rising to the surface of my mind as I sat there in His Awesome Presence. “Greg…tell me how you feel” The voice was so clear, so soft but I couldn’t, I wanted to but I was afraid. “Greg…tell me how you feel” This time I began to shake, I felt like I was a bottle of fizzy drink that someone had shaken with the top still on. I felt if I opened my mouth, I’d blow, I was so afraid to speak to Him. “Greg…tell me how you feel” I didn’t know what to do, but for some reason, a Bible Story came into my head. It was the time when a Centurion came to Jesus to ask Him to heal someone and the Centurion Soldier said to the Lord that he knew Jesus was in authority and that if Jesus said for a spirit to leave, then it would leave.
I stood up like a soldier ‘standing easy’ with my legs apart and my hands behind my back, it was the only way I felt I could stand before the Creator and the Maker of Heaven and Earth. “Greg” “Lord….how could you? How could you allow this? How can you stand by and do nothing while others suffer? Jess said that you made me strong…she said that you made soldiers like me because we could take it…I can’t take this Lord…I can’t take this…this is beyond…I’m so afraid” As I spoke the sense of His Spirit became more intense like gentle waves as I spoke but I could sense the deep pain, it felt like my chest had become tight and my head began to hurt. “Lord…I can’t take this…I’m not strong enough…how Lord?” “Greg…tell me how you feel” I could tell that the Lord was looking for a specific question I was asking myself inside, but I was so afraid to say it, but in that moment, I knew as a soldier I had to obey. “Lord…how could you allow a place like Camp Number Two to exist?” I burst into tears and sobbed as I saw the young boy in the barbed-wire, but this time, I could feel my pain begin to lesson and an even stronger sense of God’s Spirit than before. This time it was love, just pure, light, clear love waving over me slowly and gently and very quickly my sob turned to a gentle laugh as we connected, I’d be so wrong about God!