“Thou therefore endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” (2 Timothy 2:3)
In war, there are always casualties! Not everyone is wounded … some lose their lives … while many more see and experience things they will carry in their mind for the rest of their lives. While serving in the Air Force I was blessed with the opportunity to assist those who were being discharged, whether honorably or dishonorably, and those who were retiring after meeting the necessary requirements.
I read through their records, interviewed them and listened to their stories. The fear, the heartache, the horror of what some of them went through was very clear! Life had been hard, pain had been irreparably inflicted, but the good ones kept on until it was time for their part in the war to end.
We know that as Christians serving in the Lord’s army, there is no such thing as retirement or being discharged until this life has ended for us! We must carry on in active duty until it is ours to quit the walks of men. (Revelation 2:10)
Soldiers in the Lord’s army are often wounded in the day-to-day skirmish of living in a hostile and evil world. Some are able to recover from the injuries received, whether emotional, marital, personal, moral, and even financial. Others become permanent casualties!
But the Bible is not just a book of promises concerning the abundant life. It is a record of warfare between right and wrong, good and evil, and truth and error, the righteous and the unrighteous. God has preserved the record of many who became prisoners of war, spiritual casualties! God has has preserved the record of many who didn’t come back to fight again, spiritual casualties!
The thing about having casualties or even becoming one yourself is not just about someone losing an arm or leg (which in physical battle is a costly sacrifice) but can become the loss of something of even greater value … their soul and for eternity! It is not until each of us can come face to face with the permanence of eternity in either Heaven or Hell that the tenacity, humility and dependence on our Commander-in-Chief with His leadership, grace, patience and mercy will prevail and dominate our thoughts, actions, words and deeds.
But God has also preserved the record of those who when wounded in their spiritual battle, were taken care of, nursed back to spiritual health and who once again took their place on the front lines of a battle that will continue until this world ends! (Galatians 6:1-4)
We never know when the enemy will find the right approach, the right time or place, to put a temptation before us that can prove to be deadly if not deflected. And even when Satan’s fiery darts hit the intended target we must manage to crawl to the saving arms of Jesus and His people and seek help, encouragement, forgiveness and strength!
Are you reading this article slowly, carefully, and personally? I pray you are! We are witnessing a great number of spiritual casualties right now … the efforts of the evil one are unrelenting … his persistence and effectiveness is being accomplished with laser-like precision. Young people are being bombarded from a very early age with information they are too young to handle, temptations they are not strong enough yet to resist.
But we are also witnessing casualties from within the ranks of older and more mature soldiers who have been battle-tested over the years succumbing to a well-guided dart from Satan that strikes them in the heart … and they fall! Too often crushing many loved ones when they do! More casualties …
Yes, I’ve been wounded numerous times in my life as a soldier in the Lord’s army, and you have too! It doesn’t get easier, does it? We watch our young as they grow up before our eyes and we can’t help but wonder, will they be up for the battle for their souls? We must pray for them fervently, teach them diligently, and exemplify before their young eyes that being a soldier in the Lord’s army is to be a part of an army that can and will ultimately prevail over evil forces … but we must realize there will always be casualties and that we find the strength and power in the Lord to overcome our wounds, sins, transgressions and seasons of doubt by His grace, mercy and patience!
I often go back to a passage recorded in Proverbs 24:16 which reads, “For a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again, but the wicked shall fall by calamity.” Our enemy cannot and will not be able to rejoice when the wounded solider hates his sin, sorrows and grieves over them, confesses them and then cries to God for mercy!
We must keep marching side by side, arm in arm onward in the fight. We are as the children’s song says, “… in the Lord’s army!”
Bill Fairchild, Jr.