FORT BENNING, Ga. (April 2, 2018) -- Chaplain (Capt.) Caleb Schumacher, 2nd Battalion, 47th Infantry Regiment, offers his thoughts on making the most of divinely appointed moments.


So, there we were in the long winding registration line for Ranger School when I heard someone call out, "Mr. Schumacher? Hey, Mr. Schumacher! Didn't you used to teach at the Prairie School? I'm Paolo Pahm! Do you remember me?"

Confused by what I was hearing, it seemed everyone in the entire line shifted their attention to better understand what we were hearing. I mean, what are the chances of a high-school-math-teacher-turned-Army-chaplain meeting up with a former student from Racine, Wisconsin, nearly 10 years later in Ranger School of all places?

As though this wasn't strange enough, we found ourselves in the same squad, crawling side-by-side through mud pits of Malvesti. As recycles in Vaughn's platoon, our paths crossed again in a makeshift library/game room where I accepted his invitation, "anyone up for a game of chess?" We had our final meeting up in Camp Merrill after mountain phase had ended.

More recently, I ran across a quote, "Oats tells Calipari to quit his whining about having the youngest team in the tournament." Having my own opinion about the NCAA matter, the name Oats struck me as oddly familiar. After a quick Google search, I realized we had graduated from Maranatha Baptist Bible College together 18 years ago, class of '99. It turns out the same Nate Oats, head coach of the Buffalo Bulls, was coaching a marque game against the Kentucky Wildcats to advance to the sweet 16. As I dug deeper into his Facebook, my soul was drawn closer to this man whose wife had some health issues. I let him know I would pray for his situation.

Oats, the first NCAA Division I Basketball coach to come out of this small Bible College in Watertown, Wisconsin, responded, "Keep ministering to the military; your job is more important than mine." At that moment I experienced a strong sense of God's mercy and grace that had moved us to unique places of influence -- places we all have because we all are uniquely made and designed to bring glory to our Creator. He lovingly reaffirms the work we sometimes become complacent with and moves us through these divine appointments to be invigorated once again.

Whether it be a former student who remembered me or a lasting impression of one of my old classmates, we have to be ready to respond to God's divinely inspired appointments. I believe these divine appointments will culminate when we are in the presence of all those who have sacrificed and laid down their lives with honor, valor and courage and where we will all testify with power as faithful witnesses of God's mercy and grace with Jesus Christ, who we remember during this Easter season is risen just as He said.