By Chaplain Gary Cowden with Andy Meverden
Gary Cowden is the Chief Chaplain at the Puget Sound VA Medical Center in Seattle, Washington. In addition to his supervisory duties, he focuses on some of those experiencing the greatest battles; PTSD, moral injury, and spiritual oppression. In his recent ministry report he described two of his greatest blessings: one with a young Vet, one from the Vietnam Era.
- “Helping a young Vet achieve deliverance from demonic oppression; facilitating groups on PTSD and moral injury that has resulted in some real spiritual growth.”
Did you catch that simple reference to extreme spiritual warfare? Some things can’t be described in detail, and Gary is not one to sensationalize. He does battle, assesses the progress, and gets back onto the battlefield. Some battles wage long and hard, like below.
- “One of my Veteran patients involved in PTSD work lost his struggle with cancer and went home to be with the Lord suddenly a couple of weeks ago. He had come to me with deep anger and PTSD symptoms; a Vietnam Marine who returned with all the classic symptoms. He felt that God could never forgive him or be near him. Over the months, we worked together. He began attending our chapel services every Sunday and grew in his knowledge of the grace and mercy of God. Initially thinking he was unredeemable, he developed a loving trust in the Savior, and finally came to forgive himself. The last year of his life was a peaceful one spiritually, even as his body was being destroyed by cancer. He was a lovely man, and will be deeply missed. I look forward to the day we will be united as eternal friends in Glory.”
Chaplain Cowden, like many of our CBAmerica chaplains, do battle daily for the souls of men and women who serve or have served in our nation’s Armed Forces. Some wounds, like lost limbs and telltale scars, are obviously traumatic; others are invisible. The horrors of war often produce injuries to the mind, soul, and spirit. These are equally traumatic. The providers of healing of moral and spiritual injury must be skilled pastoral counselors who can treat matters of the heart, soul, and spirit.
Thank you to those who pray for our chaplains. This report is testament to God hearing and answering your prayers for spiritual wisdom, courage, and power. It reminds us that “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4 NKJV)
For more stories of God working in and through CBAmerica chaplains, go to www.cbamerica.org/chaplaincy.