FORT LEE, Va. (Sept. 20, 2016) -- Is there hope for my problems? Can anyone help? Does anybody really care? 

Many have posed these types of questions in times of great difficulty. It’s not uncommon to feel as though the world is against you when struggling with the hardships of love, labor and life in general. It can be particularly tough for military members and their families who often are stationed far from home and the comforting support network of friends and loved ones.

Let’s look at two real-life examples of individuals facing a personal struggle in our community and the outcome, which supports the theme of this article, “hope is never lost.”

While discussing her marriage, Esther said the following: “I tried counselors and talking things out. I needed help. At the beginning, everything was so nice – absolutely lovely – but it soon turned into a joke, or more like a nightmare I couldn’t believe I was experiencing.”

Esther does not believe in divorce and is convinced her parents and family would reject her if she abandoned the promise of her wedding vows.

“I really believe my husband is a good person but (at that time) he started acting like … well, acting like a jerk. He was lying. He lost interest in me. He stopped talking to me like he did when we were dating. I tried to start conversations, but he was always tired and stopped listening. All I could do was think, ‘my friends have wonderful husbands, why not me? Why have I ended up with this man I do not know anymore? Is there any hope?’”

Keeping Esther in mind, let’s introduce ourselves to Michael who explained the following about his situation. “I was angry and unsure if I was going to make it (in his career and life in general). My family members have rejected me. My high school friends have pretty much turned their back on me as well. When I was at basic training, I experienced similar issues of rejection.

“When I got to Fort Lee, I declared my love to a girl and she told me no,” he continued. “In my heart, I knew she could have a good future with me. She does not know what she has lost. I also had a loan rejected that I was really counting on to be approved. Was everyone against me? I thought, maybe I was the problem. I felt so guilty, and didn’t know what to do.”

Clearly, Esther and Michael were confronting difficult situations. Both were referred by friends to the local unit chaplain. This is what happened.

“The chaplain invested time in me and my husband,” Esther said. “We started marriage counseling, and now we are communicating much better. We are fighting for our happiness. We better understand our differences and have agreed to follow our own plans of success. I have found the hope, peace and resiliency I always wanted in our relationship.”

Michael was referred to a financial counselor who has helped him establish a budget to improve his credit score. The chaplain also has helped him explore other avenues for involvement in the community, which has opened new avenues for future friendships.

“It gave me hope for a better future that could include rekindling my relationship with family members,” Michael said.

Perhaps, reaching out to a unit chaplain was never something Esther and Michael considered until it was prompted by a caring individual concerned for their well-being. How many others in our community are in a similar situation? Will they see the moral of this story and seek help from a chaplain who will guide them to a better place in life?

During times of struggle, trust in the Lord as He “knows the plans He has in mind for you,” as noted in Jeremiah 29:11. They are plans for peace and not calamity; to give you a future filled with hope. Seek help from unit chaplains … we will always be there for you.