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  • Psalm Fifty Five

    Hear my prayer, oh Lord,
    Do not turn Your face from me.
    Hear what I have to say,
    for I am weary of this trouble:
    Wicked men are speaking out against me,
    they are telling lies and rumors because they hate me.
    My heart is breaking, Lord,
    and I am afraid the people will ask them for my life.
    I am afraid both day and night,
    I can think of nothing else, Lord.
    I wish I were a dove, Lord,
    so I could fly away and live in the peaceful forest.
    Think about this.

    Please stop this storm that threatens us.
    Defeat them, Lord, and silence their lies.
    For they are causing unrest among the people,
    they spread their lies and rumors throughout the city,
    they cause hate and discontent among Your children,
    the people are confused and angry,
    they fight in the streets against their neighbors.

    Worst of all, this was not started by a foreigner,
    if this had come from outside our borders,
    I could handle it, Lord, I could calm the people.
    And if this were from an enemy within,
    from someone the people know hates me,
    it would not be a problem, for they would see the truth.

    I was betrayed by a trusted friend, Lord,
    a person I brought into my house,
    I treated him as an equal, Lord,
    we talked for hours, took walks together,
    even prayed together in Your temple.

    For this betrayal, Lord, take his life,
    and send his soul to hell,
    for he and his followers have betrayed my trust,
    and they are trying to destroy Your people.

    I will trust in You, oh Lord,
    I will lift my prayers to You
    and You will save us.
    Our prayers will be without end,
    we will offer prayers and sacrifices
    and You will hear us.
    You have delivered us safe from many battles,
    You hear us, Lord, and You will bring pain and suffering to our enemies,
    for they do not respect Your ways.
    Think about this.

    They pretended to love you, Lord,
    they pretended to be our friends,
    and when we trusted them, they betrayed us, Lord,
    they have broken their word.
    They claimed to want peace, Lord,
    but they wanted to deceive us and conquer us.

    Trust in the Lord, the Almighty God, my people,
    and He will redeem us and save us from this oppression.
    He will restore His people to their peace and prosperity.
    But the wicked ones who have betrayed us,
    they will suffer defeat and humiliation,
    they will die before their time in pain and agony.

    We will trust in God.

    I remember an incident where a fellow recruiter and I were travelling back to Eureka from dropping off recruits at the AFEES station in Oakland, California. Ernie was driving and decided to pick up a couple of hitchhikers heading north. One of the two women had a baby with her, and we later found out they were traveling to Crescent City, on the Oregon border, to visit a cousin.

    Picking up hitchhikers in a government vehicle is against the regulations, so I questioned Ernie's judgement as he pulled to the side of the road. I also questioned it when we arrived in Eureka and Ernie decided to offer them the use of the Recruiting Station to rest overnight instead of leaving them at the bus station or the shelter. Hindsight being what it is, I should have insisted. But Ernie was the senior recruiter.

    The recruiting stations in Eureka are located on the upper floor of the local newspaper building. When we arrived at work the next morning, we discovered our offices and the offices of the newspaper had been ransacked. The editor of the newspaper was talking to the local Sheriff, and he was not happy. They had not had a break in like this in many years. Since Ernie was the senior recruiter, the editor asked him to speak with the Sheriff. Twenty minutes later, a deputy came to me and asked me to step outside. As he was putting the handcuffs on, he was reading me my rights. At least he had the decency to walk me out the side entrance into a squad car and not out the front of the building.

    When I got down to the station, they put me in an interview room and the Sheriff came in, along with an assigned Public Defender. When the Sheriff left, the attorney explained I was being charged as an accomplice to the burglary of various items, since I was the one who allowed the two women to stay in the building. Ernie had told the Sheriff the whole thing was my idea.

    I'd worked with Ernie for six months, eaten with him, had him and his family to my house, been to his house with my wife and son. I relied on his judgement when it came to applicants, when to interview prospects, and basically how to do my job. In short, I trusted him.

    I explained what had happened to the attorney and wrote down a formal statement. After about twenty minutes, I was released from custody, and given an apology from the Sheriff. One of his deputies had found the two women hitchhiking on the road about 30 miles north of town. The women had kept several personal items from the newspaper office desks, and when they were confronted by the deputy, quickly confessed and named Ernie as the man who had let them in. As I was leaving, I passed Ernie in the hallway, in handcuffs, being led to the interview room. When I got back to the office, the editor also apologized. I went to my desk, picked up the phone, and called the Chief Recruiter. Without an explanation, I asked for a transfer. One week later, I was stationed in Mt. View, California.

    When the incident came up for review with the Commander of the District, I was given an oral reprimand for allowing the conditions for the incident to occur, but was not charged further. Ernie was not as fortunate. As recruiter in charge, he was responsible for enforcing all regulations, not breaking them. Not only had he picked up hitchhikers who then vandalized a federal office, but allowed those hitchhikers access to a civilian business where they also vandalized the property. As a result, the Navy lease was vacated by the newspaper. Ernie was convicted as an accomplice to the vandalism, ordered to pay restitution to the newspaper, and convicted for conduct unbecoming a member of the Armed Forces. He lost a rank, three months pay, and was reassigned to the fleet. Believe it or not, he was fortunate the Commander decided to handle it at the local level. A Courts Martial would have meant prison time and a dishonorable discharge.

    In the military, a bond of trust exists between members because they may have to put their lives in one another's hands. To damage that trust is a betrayal so heinous it is impossible to measure.

    Its been thirty four years since that happened. I still have issues trusting people. And I understand why trust is such an important bond.

    "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths." Proverbs 3:5-7 [KJV]

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