Marching Orders, Part One
by Charles R. Swindoll
I wasn't there when a few men gathered around him. General Dwight Eisenhower had the awful job on that day in early June 1944 of determining if that was the right day to make the most significant invasion in the history of military strategy.
The weather wasn't right.
The tide wasn't right.
The sea wasn't good.
The counsel wasn't unanimous.
In fact, some of his most trusted advisors urged, "No."
But he said, "Let's go."
As we all know from history, during the Allied invasion of the Normandy beaches on D-Day, those first few waves of soldiers were picked off by the enemy like sitting ducks. The wet sand on the beach was dyed crimson with the blood of great Americans as they landed and invaded the northern perimeter of France to take that area before moving on toward Berlin.
I have the distinct feeling that nobody sat around in a small group telling jokes just before that first, second, or third wave hit the beach. No one in an amphibious landing craft said, "Man, this will be fun! We're gonna have the time of our lives." No. Not that morning. There were real bullets in those rifles. There were real shells in those massive cannons. There were powerful landmines hidden along those shores. Bodies would be blown apart. Friends would die. It was serious stuff—as serious as a coronary—as they waded ashore, as some stumbled to shore over their own vomit, as others were blinded by explosives, scared half out of their wits. They knew this was for keeps. No more jokes, no more fun and games. The training was done. This was the real thing.
Isaac Watts's words may be old, but they have a twenty-first century ring of relevance. Ponder the questions he asks:
Are there no foes for me to face?
Must I not stem the flood?
Is this vile world a friend to grace,
To help me on to God?
Do you see the questions? Do I have foes? Can I escape? Is the world a friendly place? He answers firmly:
Sure I must fight if I would reign:
Increase my courage, Lord;
I'll bear the toil, endure the pain,
Supported by Thy word.
We face a very real, insidious enemy. To make things even more confusing, the source of all the evil is invisible, as are all of his troops. Some even question his existence. Rarely are "artillery sermons" (messages readying congregations for battle with the enemy) delivered in pulpits around our land anymore. How seldom are Satan and his demons even mentioned by name. In the liberal churches you will hear all of that explained away: "This isn't like that!"
What are we to believe—that he's a little creature with a red epidermis and horns, carrying a pitchfork and sitting like an imp on our shoulders? No! Our foe is brilliant. "Genius" is a better word. He's been studying you for years. He knows you thoroughly and plans the attack that will strike at your most vulnerable weakness in hopes of bringing you down. He exists for your failure, fall, and demise.
In order to step intelligently and wisely into the battle, we need clear marching orders. Thankfully, God gives them to us in His Word. Tomorrow, we'll take a look at God's commands to us, His servants, as we engage in this battle with Satan and his demons.
Be forewarned. The answer may surprise you. Even shock you.
Excerpted from Why, God? Calming Words for Chaotic Times, Copyright © 2001 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.
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