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Helping the Iraqis Face Life
We all face death. It comes without warning for most. Life can be over in a second. What some would call a misstep or an accident can also be described as a circumstance ...

Helping the Iraqis Face Life

Brig. General (ret) Paul Casinelli, MD

We all face death. It comes without warning for most. Life can be over in a second. What some would call a misstep or an accident can also be described as a circumstance that is under God’s complete control. We are truly frail creatures. We are built in a complex way, and we try to understand the process of life and death. The only way that I understand it is to see that we are walking miracles. From the time of conception until we die it’s a miracle of grace and mercy. The body is so complex a creation that only one thing going wrong inside will affect the whole system and put a person out of commission.

When something sudden happens, most of the world would say you were in the wrong place at the wrong time. I would say that you are at the exact place at the right time and right place. That’s my understanding of God’s sovereignty. We’re so dependent upon the Lord’s good pleasure. Like the grass, we are here one day and gone the next. Ecclesiastes 1:2, “Everything is vanity.” The next second we could be gone, but you cannot dwell on that. If you do then you couldn’t live.

The Iraqi people understood this. They were in many ways like any other people. They were family oriented and generally lived amongst family. We met with the sheik of the local village. He was a true leader. The people welcomed us into their homes and shared what they had with us generously. They were very clean and polite. They were quite hospitable, and their kindness always appeared to be genuine. They were interested in what we could do to help them not to line their pockets but to help their community and their children.

We worked to help them in many ways. We had been bringing medical and nonperishable supplies and providing labor to restore a local clinic. One of the things that struck me when we went into schools was that the girls were afraid of us at first. The boys were not afraid of anything. The girls didn’t really know what to make of us. The teachers had to let them know that we were not there to cause them any harm. We were there to help them and give them school supplies. It was one of the more human things we did. To reach out and help the Iraqi people in very real and practical ways was important. It allowed us to experience the sincere appreciation of the people.


Dear Lord, may you help our country’s soldiers to act righteously in Iraq and Afghanistan. Please use their righteous acts to lead many Muslims to see your good hand in their lives. May they give you praise.

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