Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: THANKFUL (11/14/19)
- TITLE: Heavenly Peace
By Nancy Sullivan
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“James?” He whispered. “Is that you? Are you hurt?”
“No, I..I..haven’t been h-hit. Y-Yet.”
Michael inched closer. The snap of one brittle twig could bring another barrage of bullets from the dense undergrowth beyond the rolling hills that surrounded them.
“Hey, Buddy. Hang in there. We’re another day closer to seeing the end of this nightmare. We hear rumors every day that Lincoln is going to bring an end to the madness.”
“H-How do you do it, Michael? You’re like the chief morale officer for the rest of us. You dodge the same ammo, see the same wounded and dead, your belly is as empty as ours. And the last I looked, what’s left of your so-called boots have as many holes in the soles as mine. But you never complain; you’re too busy encouraging the rest of us.”
Michael eased from his elbows, rolled to his back, and rested his head on a frozen mound of dirt. He gazed up at the black sky filled with stars. He remained silent for a time as he thought about James’ question. Michael hadn’t seen himself as being in charge of the morale of others. He just faced every day as it came, knowing that his Maker was guiding every moment of his life.
“I don’t know, James. I figure if the Good Lord opens my eyes again in the morning, I still have a job to do. Sure, my feet are so frozen I can hardly feel them. And my rations seem more like a snack than food for a full day of surviving the enemy and the cold. But I’m still here, and I still have both arms and legs.
“Every chance I get,” he continued softly, “especially on a night like this, I just gaze up at the heavens and think about the God who created the skies and the planets. How small we must look to Him, yet He knows our names. He’s watching over us right now. As for my destiny? If it’s my time to go, no boulder or ravine can save me. If it isn’t my time to go, no bullet can kill me. I’ll survive it all until it’s time to go home, whether that will be to my wife and kids or to my Heavenly Father.”
The two men settled into their own thoughts for a time. James just couldn’t understand how Michael could be so sure of this God or that He truly cared about the misery and death that surrounded them. He broke the silence.
“Where did you get this idea about God?” he asked.
“From God’s own mouth, through the Holy Bible. His plan for a personal relationship with each and every one was in place at the time of Creation,” Michael replied.
Beneath those dark skies, Michael continued to share God’s redemption through Jesus Christ. James listened quietly, desperate to find the peace that Michael had. In that moment, the Holy Spirit stepped into the icy setting and drew James to the Father.
James’ prayer came from a surrendered heart. His soft sobs were now of repentance and of gratitude for the peace that had eluded him in the face of so many battles, death, and maimed fellow soldiers. If he woke up the next day, he would face it with a thankful heart and give his all for the enslaved and for his God.
“O Lord my God,
I cried to You for help, and You healed me.
“For His anger is but a moment,
His favor is for a lifetime;
Weeping may last for the night,
But a shout of joy comes in the morning.
“O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.”
Psalm 30:2;5;12b NASB
(Fiction. Senator/Lt. Col. Steve Russell was in command over the men who captured Saddam Hussein. The comments about God’s sovereign will in battle were shared by him with each soldier placed in his unit.)
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