by Stephen A. Peterson
Private Bert DeBrute, a member of Lance Corporal Carlos Ruiz’s Marine squad, was shot in the back during the Marine’s push to take the city of Fallujah, Iraq from foreign fighters. Before his evaluation, Private DeBrute requested Lance Corporal Ruiz pray for him. Almost as soon as Private DeBrute had been removed for medical treatment, the word had come back that he had injuries that left him paralyzed. Lance Corporal Ruiz recalled he had promised his subordinate that he would pray for him. However, he had no faith that Private DeBrute would recover from his paralysis. “What good were prayers without faith,” Corporal Ruiz was heard to say.
After making his statement, Lance Corporal Ruiz felt as though he had let one of his men down until he remembered what a chaplain said three weeks before: “In rough times, God has a vast majority of roles for each person to play in.”
“What is my role in all of this?” Lance Corporal Ruiz said over and over to himself. To help him work through his questions, Lance Corporal prayed as to what he could do for Private DeBrute. “Well, if I lack faith in this situation, maybe I can ask some other Marines for prayers for Private DeBrute. Before the day ended, Lance Corporal Ruiz had made 14 verbal requests for prayer asking them to pray for God’s healing to come to a member of his squad. Even in doing this, Lance Corporal Ruiz could not bring himself to ask them to pray for Private DeBrute’s full recovery.
Lance Corporal Ruiz, during his visit to private DeBrute’s post operative hospital room, presented him with a list of Marines who signed a statement indicating their intent to pray for his speedy and full recovery from his injuries. Within 9 months of his surgery, Private DeBrute wrote his squad leader and friend Lance Corporal Ruiz that there were no signs of paralysis. He also wrote that he would re-enlist for continued service in the Marine Corps and would therefore be returning to the unit as soon as he is able.
After receiving Private DeBrute’s letter notifying him of his full recovery without paralysis, Lance Corporal Ruiz concluded that any future prayer for anyone would be prayer of faith. He learned that God can indeed still produce miracles even though they may not be what humankind might not perceive of as a miracle.