Veterans Prayer Breakfast Tells Redeeming Story
By Amanda Morad | November 13, 2013
Army Chaplain Darren Turner
When Regent University alumnus, Chaplain Darren Turner '06 (Divinity) chose the Army for his place of ministry, he couldn't have predicted the road it would take him and his family down.
But on Friday, Nov. 8, Turner shared his story of redemption before a crowd of fellow military service members at Regent's annual Veterans Prayer Breakfast, hosted by the Office of Military & Veterans Affairs.
Watch the full service here.
Focusing on the life and trials of King David, Turner told of how getting it right often means getting it wrong first. "I look at David and see me—he was a mess, but God still looked at him and knew he loved Him," Turner said.
He guided the audience to 1 Chronicles 13-15, where David brings the Ark of the Covenant home from the Philistines. This was a time, Turner explained, "when David, with all sincerity, did what he thought was best rather than what God told him to do. I can relate."
The story goes that the Ark was being carried on a cart pulled by oxen, rather than the way prescribed in Scripture—on poles, carried on the shoulders of Levites. The cart jolted and a man named Uzzah reached out to catch the Ark from falling, and immediately died upon touching it.
"David was sincere, but he was sincerely wrong," he said. "He had good desire, poorly executed—so much so that Uzzah died because of it."
"David made a plan and tried to put a Jesus bumper sticker on it and call it good," Turner explained. "Only after he sought after God was he able to properly handle the presence of God."
He compared the cart to areas of compromise and the poles to obedience.
"David saw the Philistines carry the Ark on a cart and nothing happened to them," Turner explained. "He let someone in culture dictate how he handled the presence of God; he let culture influence his obedience.... Enthusiastic worship does not impress God. A rightly postured heart with childlike obedience is what He's after."
As the correlations became clearer, Turner began applying the story to his life. "Whatever God's called you to, you carry the presence of God," he said. "Don't put it on a cart. Just obey."
Turner always wanted to be in ministry, but he wasn't drawn to the church. Instead, he made the decision to pursue chaplaincy in the Army, deploying in 2007 for 15 months. "I came home angry and had no clue why," he confessed. "I lost a lot of guys, and I didn't take care of my soul while I was there."
At this time, Turner pulled away from his wife Heather and dove headlong into his career. "The flesh works until you're confronted with the reality of the cost of it," he explained. "So I grabbed a cart instead of carrying the presence of God in my life."
Darren and Heather separated for months, and on the brink of divorce, Darren resigned his commission. "God broke my heart, and I finally saw all the pain I had caused," he continued. "Never underestimate the gift of brokenness."
Turner reported that Heather says she's been married twice to the same man. "God gave me a brand new heart," he explained. "I didn't need a Band-Aid or a crutch; I needed a casket. I needed room for God to create something entirely new."
After a year, the Army offered him another commission—an assignment better than the one that spiraled him away from his family before. Now, he and Heather lead marriage retreats for military families in addition to Darren's work with his men.
"Grace is ridiculous," he told the audience. "He will take messed up people and have them tell their story and use them to transform lives."
The service concluded with the presentation of the Honor and Remember flag to Mrs. Rita Usher, mother of U.S. Army Sergeant Zanishia Usher, who was serving with distinction in the 66th Military Intelligence Brigade in the United Kingdom when she died on August 20, 2012. Usher was a Virginia Beach local whose decorations include medals for achievement, conduct, defense, volunteer service and overseas service.
The Office of Military & Veterans Affairs seeks to create a military-friendly academic environment where active and retired servicemen and women can pursue their academic, professional, personal and spiritual goals.
Learn more about the Office of Military & Veterans Affairs.
Mindy Hughes, Public Relations
Phone: 757.352.4095 Fax: 757.352.4888
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