We often wonder why we are here. We ask ourselves questions of the meaning of life and whether our struggles are worth it. Many worry about their finances, relationships, friendships, and reputations. As Christians, we often ponder our salvation and our faith. But there is good news in Christ: He walks with us on our journey, and although we may not like where the journey leads, we need to stay the course. The apostle Paul proclaims that it is by persevering through trials that our faith is perfected.
Recently I had lunch with Bill Flood, who has served in the ministry for more than six decades. Now in his 90s, Bill started his journey to the ministry at Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary, graduating in 1947. While in school he met his future wife, Ella Moore, who also attended Eastern. Falling for Ella at first sight, Bill eventually asked her to marry him. They began a journey together that would last for more than 60 years. Upon seeking God’s direction in life, Bill found himself entering into the U.S. Air Force Chaplain Corps in 1953. Military chaplains have a very rewarding, but at the same time very difficult, job. Bill was not a typical chaplain, and he believed in being with the people he was leading. He would often leave his office and travel to different units, not preaching, but just talking to the young airmen. They were grateful for his company. A career military officer, Bill and his family moved around the world, living in such places as France, Iceland, and different parts of the United States. Together Bill and Ella worked as a team—it was said that if Bill was the kite, Ella was the tail. While Bill served in the ministry and in chaplaincy, Ella served as a choir director and vocalist. They raised three children during these years.
Bill loved the Air Force and the people he served with, but there were many hardships that he had to endure. Moving around the world and constantly being pulled away from his family, Bill stayed the course and was dedicated to God, his family, and the service of others before himself. Through the challenges of serving as a counselor, spiritual leader, and military officer, Bill impacted thousands of lives. It was not for his glory, but rather for the glory of Christ.
Bill retired with the rank of colonel in 1981, after a career spanning nearly 30 years in service to both God and country. After leaving the service Bill and Ella moved to St. Davids. Both continued to seek God’s direction in life through much prayer. Ella would return to Eastern, working in the mailroom where the students loved her. Bill served as an interim pastor at the Baptist Church in the Great Valley, which is down the road from Eastern’s campus.
Bill and Ella’s story reminds us to keep the whole picture in perspective as we face challenges and roadblocks in life. We read in the New Testament not to be “anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6, NIV). Matthew adds, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34, NIV). For more than six decades Bill preached God’s word—taking one day at a time. He says he would do it all over again, for he had a wonderful time.
Surrender your fears, anxiety, and worries to Christ. He will walk beside you and see you through the trials. Cling to the cross, and He will preserve you. He will sustain you in the midst of difficult times. Give Him your life, and you will be in for one thrilling adventure — Colonel Bill Flood’s life testifies to this.