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God Brought Me This Far
By CH (CPT) Michael Beatty
I love God’s Word. I especially enjoy reading about a biblical character and finding something that relates to me. These moments allow me to make deep, personal connection to the Scriptures, reminding me the men and women in the Bible were people just like us. God used ordinary people for great purposes. One biblical character I relate to is King David. In 2 Samuel 7:18-22 it says, “Then King David went in and sat before the Lord; and he said: Who am I, O Lord God? And what is my house, that You have brought me this far?"
David started from humble beginnings as a shepherd boy but eventually became the King of Israel. David was amazed at what God did when He took the impossible and made it possible. I can relate to this. Growing up, I was not athletic or near the top of my class. I stammered, so articulating words was very difficult. Strangely enough, I was good at preaching and public speaking. When I preached at our church, interestingly, I never stammered. It felt completely natural, and it was evident I was born and called to do this.
I realized this calling at age 14, but I never knew the extent to which I would serve in the ministry. Years went by. I met and married Stephanie and became a schoolteacher. I enjoyed the job, but deep inside, I knew I was called to more. In 2008, the state of California laid off more than 30,000 teachers—mostly new teachers like me. My wife and I began praying for God’s guidance and direction, and He led us to the Army.
I entered military service July 1, 2008, and underwent basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia. While there, many members of my platoon noticed. I prayed regularly with fellow soldiers, counseling, encouraging, and listening to them. Like preaching, this felt natural, and I loved it. I was soon given the nickname “platoon chaplain.” Shortly after basic training, I went to OCS (Officer Candidate School). Once again, I found myself gravitating to those around me and ministering to them. I was given a slightly different nickname: “company chaplain.” During this time I began to sense God’s leading into the chaplaincy.
After Basic Officer Leadership Course, I became an officer in the Adjutant General Corp, or army human resources. During my first duty station at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, home of the 101st Airborne Division, I did very well as a human resources officer, but once again, I found myself ministering to soldiers. I recall one captain telling me, “Lieutenant Beatty, I believe you’ve missed your calling.”
I spent three years in the 101st, before being reassigned to Fort Jackson, South Carolina, for the Captain’s Career Course. This training teaches Army captains to command within their own military skill sets. I caught the attention of the course manager, Major Aaron Lummer. He called me into his office and told me, “Captain Beatty, you act like a chaplain naturally. I often see you praying and ministering to your fellow classmates. You are a capable HR officer, which is fine, but you would be stellar as a chaplain. I’m giving you permission to skip certain classes and go next door to the chaplain school to learn.”
I took him up on the offer and soon learned the chaplaincy was for me. Even more, I knew it was God’s will.
After being assigned to my next duty station at Fort Hood, Texas, I was deployed to Afghanistan. I served as HR officer for an infantry unit, and once again, I instinctively began doing the “chaplain thing.” Some soldiers even confused me for a battalion chaplain. Toward the end of my deployment, I was sent to Bagram Airfield. While there, I made an appointment to speak to my brigade chaplain, CH (MAJ) Haggray. He told me, “Captain Beatty, I was wondering when you were going to come to my office. Have a seat, and we’ll discuss your future as a chaplain in the Army.”
We talked for a long time, and he helped devise a plan of action to become a chaplain. I resigned my active commission, and on August 14, 2014, I accepted a commission as an HR captain in the reserves. My family and I moved to Springfield, Missouri, where I attended seminary, served as youth pastor at a small church, and followed the military protocol to become a chaplain. In early March 2018, I received some bad news, just as I was completing the final steps in the chaplain process. I received a call from the chief of chaplains’ office. I was informed I had no chance of becoming a chaplain, primarily since the Army wanted captains, and I was on the verge of being considered for major. The chaplain went on to say I might have a chance to become a navy chaplain, but the army was out. My wife and I were devastated, and we began to pray for God to intervene.
Well, God intervened!
I called the Navy and began the process of becoming a naval chaplain. A few months later, I underwent military training at Fort Snelling, Minnesota. By divine appointment, while there I met Chaplain (MAJ) Amy Noble. We talked about the chaplaincy, and she asked if I ever wanted to become one. I told her my situation, and why I was working with the Navy. She was flabbergasted!
Chaplain Noble explained what I had been told by the chief of chaplains’ office was only partially true, and
policies were changing. Even more, she worked as a chaplain recruiter! God placed her directly in my path, I know, because she put me in touch with the individuals who helped me become a chaplain. I couldn’t help but loudly praise God, and wonder who was I that He would want to help me.
On June 24, 2019, I received orders transferring me to the Chaplain Corps. I was finally a chaplain, and I was transferred to a unit in Little Rock, Arkansas. I recall that first drill weekend with my new unit. I got to minister to scores of soldiers, and even more, it was my job! I returned home and told my wife I had to become a full-time chaplain rather than a reservist.
Through a series of events, God led me to the National Association of Free Will Baptists and Kerry Steedley. I remember our first conversation when we must have talked for more than an hour. I knew this was where God wanted me and my family to be.
As I look back, it is clear God was leading us. Today, my family and I attend Eastern Gate FWB Church in Springfield, Missouri. We are part of a great church willing to help and support us in the chaplaincy, an association willing to ordain me, and a denomination willing to give me an active duty endorsement.
I am amazed and humbled to see God at work. I recently graduated from the U.S. Army Chaplain Basic Officer Leadership Course (CHBOLC), required for all Army chaplains. When I arrived at Fort Jackson to begin studies, I paused at the sign that read “U.S. Army Chaplain Center and School.” I began to cry and praise God. Like King David, I said, “Praise be to the LORD, the God who has brought me this far! Oh LORD my God, please, take me farther.”
He has truly brought me and my family this far, and I simply cannot wait for what He has in store.
About the Writer: CH (CPT) Michael Beatty is a Free Will
Baptist Chaplain in the U.S. Army Reserve with plans to soon
go on active duty. Learn more about the chaplaincy at