On December 24, 1944 during the Battle of the Bulge, an entire U.S. armored division was retreating from the Germans in the Ardennes forest when a sergeant in a tank destroyer spotted an American soldier digging a foxhole. The GI, PFC Martin, 325th Glider Infantry Regiment, looked up at the sergeant and asked, “Are you looking for a safe place?” “Yeah,” answered the sergeant. “Well buddy,” PFC Martin said, “just pull your vehicle behind me. I’m the 82nd Airborne Division and this is as far as the b…tards are going!”
Whether the story is completely true or not, as a retired sergeant I still get goosebumps when I read this and reflect on the courage and resolve of those who served before me and since. While reading about PFC Martin, I pondered, “Just what is courage?” What follows is an attempt at the answer.
In PFC Martin’s and numerous other cases, courage can be defined as being “fed up.” It was snowing, he was wet and tired, up to his ankles in mud, and it was Christmas Eve. He had had enough and wasn’t going to give one more inch to the enemy.
His actions reminded me of the fabled Cheyenne Dog Soldier. Dog Soldiers were the elite warriors. They were the last line of defense. Each soldier wore a particular sash, which trailed the ground, and each carried a sacred arrow. In time of battle the Dog Soldier would impale the sash to the ground and fight there to the death.
There was one difference: the Cheyenne were not “fed up.” They, like PFC Martin, were also fearless. Death held no “sting” if you will.
Christians in America don’t face death, but we still need our sash and sacred arrow in a society increasingly hostile to our faith and the Bible upon which it rests. Simply, we must display courage against the mounting tsunami of antinomian beliefs and practices. But how does one do that? How do I counter a culture of progressively immoral behavior?
The answers come straight from the Bible. They detail a better way of life for all. In the short space remaining I’ll mention but a few.
1 Peter 5 tells us to humble ourselves because a proud spirit is foolhardy, not courageous. The very next verse instructs us cast all of our cares on Him. Worry never changes the situation, but it does bring the worrier harm. James tells us in Chapter 4 of his epistle to resist the devil and he will flee. Not giving in to the many temptations that threaten us each day is not easy, but with prayer and some confidence to whom one can turn we can succeed. Finally, James pleads with us to draw near to God. We are not smart, gifted, cunning or crafty enough to handle life’s trials on our own. We can only do so with the author and enabler of that life. And He is found in the Bible.
Ed Jones pastors Fellowship at the Ranch at Robson Ranch. This nondenominational church meets at the Robson Clubhouse on Sunday mornings at 10:30 a.m. Visit Fellowship’s website: www.fellowshipattheranchchurch.org for information.