The Extra Oil: A Military Wife’s Perspective Part 1
Updated: Aug 17, 2020
I started a seemingly insignificant tradition when my husband went on our first married deployment: I baked an apple pie the night before and sent him off with a slice to take on the plane. He had been on many deployments before we got married in 1997, and by the time he retired after nearly 30-years of military service, he ate a lot of pies! I would estimate at least nine. The first deployment for me was the most difficult: War, one month of no contact at all, two days short of a year when the original time was scheduled to be six-months. It was somewhat harrowing but the fruit of this experience was very unexpected: I found what it meant to have extra oil when waiting for a loved one to return.
There may very well be an actual art of waiting. Like art, not everything is and not everyone can do it well. Patiently waiting, in some bible translations, is referred to as long suffering and is characterized by two other fruits of the spirit; joy and peace. I had some fruit while I waited for my husband to return from the start of the war with Iraq: Three little golden apples (a.k.a. children) to keep me very busy. Peace, when my toddler used the sink sprayer to "clean" the kitchen. Joy, when one of my "apples" decided to become a minimalist and throw all of their toys out of the hole they cut in the upstairs playroom screen/window. It was in this time of waiting that I read ALL of the Left Behind series in 30 days, realized the value of the Body of Christ at our local church, and developed a renewed appreciation for my family. My new-found joy was found in the faithfulness of my Jesus and the peace of the Holy Spirit that steadied my heart and mind no matter what the news was reporting from overseas.
The group of women I met with regularly on base and who were the spouses of my husband's unit, were an amazing support and inspiration for what became over 20 years of waiting and service. Some were wise - serving other families while their spouses were overseas, patiently waiting for word that their own were safe and headed home. Others were foolish - immature, discontented, grumbling about how long they were waiting, missing their life outside of the military and finding new friends and lovers in other places. For those of us who have a close relationship with Jesus, who really know Him and obey Him, we have the Holy Spirit inside of us. He gives us oil to shine for Jesus. After we give our lives to Jesus, asking Father God to forgive our sins and wash us clean with the blood of Jesus - we need to receive the extra oil - the baptism of the Holy Spirit. It is this baptism and the constant re-filling - done by reading, believing and confessing the word of God daily, praying in the Spirit and keeping a repentant heart - that is the extra oil we must have in these last days.
Do you have this baptism of fire in the Holy Spirit? I received the Holy Spirit baptism in 1996 at the church my husband and I met and married at: The Holy Spirit met me at the altar at the same place my husband and I were married a year and a half later. I heard from my college roommate how to receive the Holy Spirit and while at the altar, I simply asked Him to fill me. I then began praising God and out of my mouth came a language I did not know - It was the biblical evidence I had received the Holy Spirit. You are most definitely saved when you believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus is the Son of God, that He died and rose again for the forgiveness of sins, AND you obey His commandments (read John 14:21). You are going to heaven and can rejoice! But there is MORE! The empowerment to be a witness for Jesus and do what He did was given to us in the person of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost! Jesus did not give us the parable of the wise and foolish virgins in vain - there are foolish virgins. We need to know what these things mean: It is written that it is the glory of God to conceal a matter but the honor of kings is to seek it out. Proverbs 25:2. Let's be like the wise virgins in Jesus's parable and have the extra oil to persevere from the mid-night cry to the catching away (1 Thess. 4:17). Get the extra oil right now, before it is too late and you awake to find your husband has returned and you were not ready.
And while they went to buy (the oil) the Bridegroom came and they that were ready
went in with Him and the door was shut. Mathew 25:10
Cover image courtesy of Guilherme Stecanella. Lantern in the wheat field.