Constructs that Influence Chaplains in the War

Moving on, we will now speak of the core category and the four prime constructs that constitute the emergent theory. The first construct termed “I am Powerless” confirms the idea that Army Chaplains witness a phase where they feel extremely distressed due to the feeling of powerlessness that prevails over them. This mostly happens during the stage where they try and fix the problems of the soldiers during deployment. The second construct inspects the idea that part of the distress felt by the chaplains is a result of their longing to be Godlike or all-powerful. This is termed as “I am God”. The third construct called “God’s Providence” that the ultimate control lies in the hands of God and has a planned purpose for everything that takes place around us. The fourth construct of the emergent theory is called “How I Cope” and provides a description of the ways in which the chaplains try and deal with the sense of powerlessness. It also acts as a vehicle for the chaplains to proceed to the final stage of the theory and the ultimate central category called “I am Changed”.

I Am Powerless

The first construct of the emergent theory deals with confirming the idea that chaplains greatly struggle with their sense of powerlessness while solving certain issues that bother soldiers during phases of their deployment. In fact, this is a common feeling shared by people in the helping profession when faced with a situation they cannot provide a substantial resolution to. There are cases where the chaplains go through stages of dealing with this feeling of powerlessness. While some helpers seemed to be in the midst of resolving issues within themselves, there were others who had reached a space where they found peace and came to terms with their limitations and capabilities.

According to researchers, several helpers have admitted to feeling powerless when they could not solve the problems of people in need. The helpers tend to take on the responsibility of fixing the issues of these people for two specific reasons – empathizing with these people strongly to take on the issue or considering it to be a challenge that needs to be won. Lack of means to provide an immediate resolution makes them feel powerless. Helpers often showcased negative feelings and thoughts as a result of this feeling. A prime feeling showcased, in this case, is a sense of not being able to meet people’s expectations.

The other subject brought forth, in this case, is the concept of helpers devaluing their most important contributions. If so, why do they do it? Why do helpers disregard the contributions of God’s presence or his care? One can consider this to reflect their personal acknowledgment or refusal of the presence of God during times of crisis. They might not consider the mere presence of God to be of help. Another probability is that the helpers do not understand the importance of the help and suggestions they offer. They might not have realized or are unaware that their presence can be encouraging and comforting to people.

I Am God

The next construct of the idea is the theory that chaplains have a desire to Godlike, or in other words, all-powerful. This idea is often hinted by helpers while describing their feelings of powerlessness, where they reach out for any means apart from God. This reflects the chaplain’s strong desire to carry out things at their own will and attempting to fix the situation, instead of carrying out the will of the One that they are intended to represent.

A great struggle related to power and pride in the transparency of motives. Helpers feel powerless when they cannot fix a certain situation they are confronted with and are filled with a sense of pride when it all works their way. The role of a helper is quite like that of an actor on TV. Though not doctors, they play the role when required for the profession. Similarly, a helper is not God but portrays the role of one when approached for help. Nevertheless, within themselves, they are doubtful of God’s existence or his ability to help and fix a problem.

God’s Providence

The third construct of the theory involves recognizing the fact that God is all-powerful and has a definitive plan for pain and hurt. It comes as a counterpoise to the will to be all-powerful. Helpers when faced with the feeling of powerlessness, have a desire to feel all-powerful and on some level must acknowledge the fact that some other entity is all-powerful. In the meantime, helpers realize that God is the absolute power and their power rests in “Him.” Some examples of statements from helpers that portray a sense of hope include:

• I’m reminded of truths in the Bible, God is in control.

• It is hard to wait, but God’s timing is perfect … matter of faith.

• I don’t let it overwhelm me; God wins. God’s still there, on the throne, He wins.


• He’s unlimited … knows all … whole picture.

• God knows the purpose … He makes the end beautiful.

• Who knows how God is allowing life events to work.

• Things happen for good, out of chaos and evil… His end, His goal is accomplished … through Christ’s power … control shows up.

How I Cope

The next construct deals with the various ways in which helpers cope and deal with the feelings and sense of powerlessness. They voiced the fact that at times it is needed for them to take a step back and indulge in some form of self-care. The methods used by chaplains to deal with powerlessness are mostly centered around exercising themselves, mentally, physically, spiritually and socially. There are instances when helpers spoke about touching all the points through working-out physically, praying, maintaining fellowship with peers and relying on their supervisors.

The methods of coping that is usually adopted by most helpers are conducting disciplines and spiritual exercises. Some of them included reading scriptures, praying and turning to God. The interesting part is the scriptures and prayers are means described by the helpers to reach out to God. Mental processing and social interaction are yet another way in which helpers cope with their sense of powerlessness. In this case, helpers depended on other helpers, mentors, and peers, to speak about the present scenario as an attempt to emotionally and intellectually process the problems confronted by them.

I Am Changed

The last section of the theory, or what we can term the core category, forms the centerpiece of the entire theory. The abstract embodies the prime theme of the study. The section exhibits analytical power and puts together the other constructs, to frame an explanatory whole. Through a collective examination of several aspects, the core category is termed as “I Am Changed”. It is truly after the helpers have changed, that they will be able to deal with and resolve their sense of powerlessness. After this change, the helpers tend to have an increased sense of maturity which they term “mature faith”.

To conclude, there are five traits or characteristics of helpers who have overcome their feelings of powerlessness. The traits are – reduced sense of pride, enhanced personal identity, being extremely aware of their own finiteness, enhanced humility, acknowledging their own contributions towards caring for the other people, identifying their strength in weakness and not taking the responsibility of other people’s issues upon themselves.