by Major Steve Merritt

What a journey the past 25 years as an officer has been.

I was raised in a family with multiple generations of officers. Even my nana remembers as a child having William Booth, the Founder of The Salvation Army, visit her parents in their home in northern England. He stopped by to personally thank them for their service to the community.The town was in the midst of a mine strike, and families needed to eat. Salvationists were the ones who provided the basic necessities. Even with a strong Salvation Army heritage and having the opportunity to see the Army at its best, I didn’t have the goal of becoming an officer.

My calling to be an officer came following my time in the United States Marine Corps and working in a commercial printing shop. I remember God speaking to me at the National Seminar on Evangelism in Glen Eyrie, Colo., but for three years I kept this to myself and continued to read God’s Word, pray and become as involved in my corps as possible while working a fulltime job. One morning in the loudness of the printing shop, I remember clearly hearing God say, “I want your prime time.” Although my wife and I were active in the corps and taking on leadership positions, my service was given often after 12-hour days in the shop. I felt God wanted me to prioritize the giving of my time to Him instead of what was left after work and other responsibilities.

Looking back, I see God was preparing me for what He had in store all along while growing up an officers’ child, attending high school in Chicago, being in the Marines and having various jobs. This was especially evident during the three-year period in my spiritual journey when only I knew God was working everything out in my life for me to answer His call.

God made the way for our family of three to enter the School for Officers Training [now College for Officer Training] quickly. Our house sold in one month, and my boss allowed me to remain in my job until the final days before training.For that I am truly grateful. The One who calls is always faithful, and I am thankful to God for all I have experienced as I follow His call obediently day by day.