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July 30, 2022 3:00 am
In this episode, we revisit a classic Veteran’s Day interview between Pastor Greg Laurie and Captain Scotty Smiley. They discuss Scotty’s service as an Army Ranger and his experience as the Army’s first active-duty, blind officer.
On April 6, 2005, Scotty lost his eyesight when a suicide car bomber blew himself up thirty meters in front of Scotty’s IAV Stryker vehicle. Shrapnel blew through Scotty’s eyes, leaving him blinded and temporarily paralyzed. He woke up in Walter Reed Army Medical Center a week later. Through questioning his faith, Scotty made a decision to forgive and rebuild his life and continue to serve in the Army, becoming the first blind active-duty officer in military history.
Listen in for an amazing testimony.
Learn more about his story at hopeunseen.com.
It’s important that we take the time to remember and honor our military veterans. It’s because of their selfless service and sacrifice that we live in a free country today.
Learn more about Greg Laurie and Harvest Ministries at harvest.org.
This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.
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Everybody Greg Laurie here. You're listening to the Greg Laurie Podcast and my objective is to deliver hopefully compelling practical insights and faith culture and current events.
From a biblical perspective to find out more about our ministry. Just go to our website harvest.org so thanks for joining me for this podcast let's welcome High regard for God is great to have you here and thank you for coming up especially in Veterans Day and thank you for your service to our country and the sacrifices that you've made it.
We met years ago you were a cadet at West Point and I was in speaking, there, and I think we were presenting the cadets with Bibles. What year was that I think it was 2002 writing you were there with the your friend Edward Graham is also an Army Ranger and does so that's when we first met and that I thought Edward not long ago and I told you this in the back room. I said, and he looked like G.I. Joe and wouldn't you say he still sounds like G.I. Joe yeah he thinks he is G.I. Joe he is. He's active with the military today and not did you always brought in a lot of young boys grow up playing Army wanting to be a soldier was that how you were raised.
You always want to be in the military central little boy. I always love playing guns and playing Army, but for me the choosing attending Isis military County was the factors free and my parents could afford of education you so you're getting your education there and while you were a cadet 9/11 happened, how did that affect you correct it when my junior year in 2001 September 11 happened just 40 miles south of us at West Point. We were attacked and it really resolved my dedication to fight for the freedoms in which we have and it really made me want to be in the Army and continue my anomaly education and those are but my service to our country and you were sent to Iraq, northern Iraq. Whereabouts in Iraq did you go we received orders back to Fort Lewis where I was from to deploy to Missoula Iraq and I didn't know where Missoula was so looking it up on the Internet I found out that it was Nineveh, and you know Nineveh in the Bible say Larry Ackley and so your living near the Puget Sound.
I deftly did not want to tell God know I'm not going to Nineveh that didn't work out so well for Jonah didn't know. I think you know we got learn from people's past. So when you were there didn't did you find that the people of Iraq were welcoming our military presence. I think many of them did appreciate that the freedoms that we gave him taking out Saddam Hussein up while the same time their expectations that the United States would be bring freedom and money and and wealth. You know, there are bit disillusioned in many of them still supported us in love the freedoms that we gave them but at the same time, the insurgents continually try to sort us. Continue fought running the system and continue to bring down their country. One day in April, you were out of the control and the Stryker vehicle. What is a Stryker vehicle Stryker vehicles and eight wheeled vehicle with 50 caliber machine gun. I mean it's awesome. It's just amazing vehicle that carries soldiers and as we found a suspicious vehicle which you can just shoot someone because they look scary. I made a decision to court on him off part you'll protect other people.
I parked my vehicle just to his south about 30 yards away and yelled at him to get out of his vehicle and no just a single man had clean-shaven days, clean-shaven gray shirt down with wrists, just innocent, good looking guy yelled at him to get out of his vehicle and looked over his left shoulder, shook his head no. I respond with same yell at him. He did the same thing and let his foot off the brake on. That's when I raise my M4 rifle to my shoulder and shot two rounds in front of his vehicle and then my world went black.
Say he was a suicide bomber he was. He was a suicide bomber disintegrating the vehicle and himself on blinding me.
The rest of my life by you going ahead of the others. You put yourself in the way of danger. Surely you had your sufficiency may be a suicide bomber correct and you know it's that's that that's a job that everyone in the military, Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard do every single day. Is there putting themselves on the line for the protections of our country in though their lives may be at risk. They know that for the freedoms in which we live is worth it and you saved other lives that day, I have no time and I hope so. That's fantastic. Thank you for that and you woke up at Walter Reed Hospital partially paralyzed and totally blind. How did you cope with that study, it was tough. You know, being raised as a Christian in a Christian family, I felt I had done everything that I was supposed to do if there is quote unquote blocks the check I felt I checked them and you know it's it's not.
It is a shallow way to look at it but I read my Bible. I read my Bible and from my men in my men in the military I prayed in front of them. I did all that I was thought that I thought to do and now that God had allowed my eyesight to be taken in partially paralyzed. It was so tragic that I forsook him and one of my good friends as you mentioned Edward Graham came in my room one morning and asked me to say a prayer and I respond with I don't know how to pray and I don't think I know God and just that plain statement really shook my wife, my loving wife Tiffany my family to the Koren and they really got on her knees and began to pray that not for my eyesight, but that the Holy Spirit would begin to move me again and that you have two boys of randomly and what is your then great and greedy and your wife's name Tiffany as you said and you have another child coming soon. Don't you let a month away or sell my congratulations.
I nag to Scotty so and Edward Graham if we didn't mention is the son of Franklin and Jean Graham in the grand son of Billy Graham and your friend and so here was this crisis of faith in your wife is concerned and hot and you asked the question why so how did you get through the you know it's it's not just the support of my family and friends but it's God's unfailing love the fact that you know he sent his son Jesus Christ on this earth to die for us and I knew that, but we have to choose him and we have a choice each and every day to not choose him and walk away and me knowing that I had to first ask him to forgive me.
I am one of the young important moments was I used to teach Sunday school at the military Academy and I would say no to Toby Keith, Gary Sinise, three-star four-star generals would want to see me. I I don't want to see them when my wife came in my room one day and said Scotty Andrew wants to see you.
I just broke down because I knew it was Andrew Harris who I taught Sunday school to and I realize that if God could still use me to positively influence a young child that he truly would have you a way to use me in the future.
Blind or not, and it was just a choice that I had to make was to ask God to forgive me and then there's that slow processing beginning my wife's love, regaining God's love in closeness. Rather, through reading the Bible through prayer and supplication.
But you know that that that road is still ongoing, but it it's awesome yeah you know much of the story in the Bible of the Syrian general Naaman military men like yourself who had leprosy in the end it was made a young woman working in this home and told him about the prophet Elisha and so he ended up making the journey the Israel and any was healed and God is a young boy held was that boy was it did you enter he was in fifth grade I taught him in second grade and three years later use me. Talk about an amazing way that God can use what we've done in the past and and how it can constantly and specifically influence us and later on the future so all the celebrities want to see you in important people in you do want to see any of them and that little boy touches your heart and and you told me in an earlier interview that he started to ask what instead of why incentive why God which is really an unanswerable question.
It is, but talk about the what you said what God is at me just in asking God why I honestly don't think it is a question that will ever be answered here on earth but we know will be answered when we were in heaven. But if it's the one that we should focus on is what you can dilute use me for how are you can use me God because that's where we as humans need to focus on what we can continue to do for God's greater good versus our own profit and in an and you and so just focus on the what and how is where we need to be an amazing twist in your straight. Scotty I is you wanted to pursue. Continue to pursue a career in the military and stand uniform you went through grueling physical therapy to get back in the shape and then he went to Duke University you were you were graduated with an MBA correct just and then you went on to take command of the warrior transition unit. Why did you want to stay in the military as the Army's first-line active duty officer. You know, being the Army's first active-duty Army officer blind activity. Armature is not one something on my bucket list and I don't encourage other people to see. Did either. But for me in serving my country. I saw the purpose and I could see how God could continue use me in. In the words that came in my mouth the way that I treated people being fearless example of inspiration and motivation for other soldiers in the warrior transition unit is it is an organization that helps the recovery of wounded, ill and injured soldiers.
Just as an organization I had been a part of being able to be that company commander deleting them information on runs and administratively counseling soldier was an awesome job in just God, give me that that challenge, but that opportunity allowed me to continue to serve my country in an amazing way. Absolutely no the apostle Paul says that we can comfort with the comfort we been comforted with them when someone is facing acute phase wounded in combat. Losing your vision but yet pressing on as a soldier. What a powerful example you are, but not only did fellow soldiers but to all kinds of people facing adversity and hardship in their people watching right now listening right now that are facing severe adversity, maybe not as bad as what you think, Scotty, but yet it's serious and and they may be at having a crisis of faith.
What would you say to them what words of hope. Would you offer them you know we we all go through struggles and trials physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, but God has those in places those in our lives for reason and is to grow our strength and to grow his is good Lord your juices. Jesus Christ told Nicodemus in a dark alley. He sent his son Jesus Christ and searched the to die for us on that if we ask him in our hearts, we can be with him forever in its focusing on that, and in knowing just as Paul says in Philippians that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us and so is to have resolving if we have walked away from the faith, just as I have no the God can still bring you back. He loves us.
He loves each and every one of us and is to choose him. And because that is what we're here for on earth to do. Let's think That :-) everybody Greg Laurie here. Thanks for listening to our podcast in the learn more about harvest ministries. Please subscribe and consider supporting this show. Just go to harvest.org.
By the way, if you want to find out how to come into a personal relationship with God. Go to know God.org that's key NOW GLD.org