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Saturday, May 25, 2013

First Light

Photo: inspire21.com
I have wondered for a long time about how soldiers get ready for their days, the ones in which they know they will have to risk their lives in combat and during which they might die. The rest of us get up, brush our teeth, decide what to wear or what to have for breakfast, kiss our spouse, and go to work. Somehow, a solder has to rub sleep out of his eyes, shoulder his weapon, and prepare to fight for his life.

I have heard a few discussions about this, memories of times filled with bullets and explosions and blood. I have heard about days when the dead lay all around except for one. I have heard about the smell of spent shells and been asked to imagine the sound of the accumulated gunfire of a hundred men shooting at once, but I have never experienced anything even remotely like it. I do know, however, someone who has.

Israel's King David did not use a gun, but he did use spears and shields. And he also did something that few soldiers can: he found words for what he experienced.

Strangers are attacking me; ruthless men seek my life, men without regard for God. -Psalm 53: 3
See how they lie in wait for me! Fierce men conspire against me for no offense or sin of mine, O Lord--Psalm 59:3
 

Every soldier must at some time cry out just like David did. And I'm ashamed to say it, so do I, even though my lot is less dangerous and the price much lower. Some days, enemies just seem to crowd around and I can almost hear their spears rattle. On those days, though, I have to find solace in the same place David did.

Contend, O Lord, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me. Take up shield and buckler, arise and come to my aid. Brandish spear and javelin against those who pursue me. --Psalm 35: 1-2a

And on those days, knowing that we do not have the final say as to who wins or loses, who lives or dies, there is only one place to look for real assurance.

Say to my soul, 'I am your salvation.' Psalm 35: 2b
Rest, soldier. Your battle may still rage, but the Victor fights beside you, and has already won.

Reprinted from By This Still Hearth, 5/18/2011

17 comments:

  1. What an awesome post! I too cannot imagine the hardships and sacrifices our soldiers endure. Most of my pain has been emotional and boy, do I reach out to Him in those moments! Thank you so much for writing and sharing this!

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    1. These memorial and veterans' day holiday bring poignant times of remembrance for my husband, and I taste again what soldiers must endure. There are no words for it.

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  2. Joanne, the Psalm 35 verse, 'say to my soul...' really spoke to me. Our souls (the selves/personalities inside us) are the places we fight, I think. Great analogy.

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    1. They are, and sometimes that fight is surrounded by the brokenness that comes from a physical fight, as well. It is that physical part, I think, that we celebrate on memorial day.

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  3. Thank you for sharing at the hop xo

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  4. Insightful and profound. God's Word says it all and He is Who we MUST hold on to at the break of each day. No, I have not had to go into this battleground, but am married to a Vietnam Vet who is sharing with me now. I am the daughter of a Navy doctor who cared for many in the south Pacific during WWII. War is tough. I cannot imagine how the day begins and ends, if indeed it does, for all who serve. Thank you for bringing this Memorial Day into my view from a different angle. I truly appreciate it.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda @ Being Woven http://beingwoven.org/2013/05/25/in-honor-and-respect/

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    1. My husband is a Viet Vet, too, and it is only now, after more than 40 years, that he is able by the grace of God, to really process. It has been a long road.

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  5. Absolutely - because in all these things, we are more than conquerors!

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  6. Great encouragement for those of us who love men and women who protect our freedoms. When my kids are deployed, hanging on to God and his word are what keeps me going!

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    1. There's only so much that those of us who have never had to fight can understand. I don't know what else we can do but love them as best we can and pray...

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  7. My MIL's husband is a disabled Viet Nam veteran. He was a sergeant, got shot, went to the hospital, and went back into combat. Then there was a landmine with part of his name on it. He lost both legs to the hip, one arm and several fingers on the remaining hand. And still he fired to protect his comrades. He came back to "the world", got two Master's Degrees and worked for the DAV for years.

    MIL says they don't count "that day" as the day he was grievously injured, but as the day he could have died...but didn't. God has a purpose for each one of us.

    Thank you for this moving tribute to the men and women who are protecting our freedoms.

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    1. Sounds like this fine man is still with you all to care for and love. No war is pretty, but that one, at the crossroads of an era of whole new kinds of suffering, was particularly hard hit. Those men (and they were almost all men, then. Women hadn't much yet sought out that particular kind of pain) came back having to hide from the ones they most needed to put strong arms around them. And many still feel the lack of that desertion. Sounds like yours did not. God bless you all this day for the fight you surely are still fighting.

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  8. Oh, we all have those small, teeny battles we fight daily like you have mentioned. Although it is not life threatening, we will do well to leave ourselves in our Pappa God's hands, asking Him to glorify His name! Not always easy though, don't you think.
    Blessings from Michelle's.
    Mia

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    1. Yes, ma'am. Not always easy, I do think.

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  9. Hopping over from Crafty Spices. =)
    I would love for you to share and link up at my weekly TGIF Link Party if you haven't already this week. The party is open every Thursday night and closes Wednesday's at midnight.
    http://apeekintomyparadise.blogspot.com/. AND starting Wednesday June 4th I will be hosting a Wordless Wednesday link party. Hope you will join us! Have a wonderful week!
    Hugs, Cathy

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  10. You have some great verses here for people to fall back on if they need them!

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    1. Thank you. That was the intent.

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