When I entered the Army in 1985, I knew almost nothing about the military. I had this mistaken notion that all Soldiers are created equal. But they most certainly are not. Some who enter the Army are clearly unsuited for military life. Many of these will be separated from the service via chapter 11, AR 635-200 (an “entry level separation”) within the first 180 days of service.
A Unique Duty
Most who volunteer for the Army will prove compatible with military duty. These are the ones who do their job, yet do not by any means seek to be heroes.
Then there are those who really enjoy the Army. They appreciate the physical training, the overseas assignments, and the camaraderie. And they don’t mind the field training exercises or the deployments – not too much. Most of these will remain on active duty until they retire – but retirement usually can’t come soon enough.
But then there are those who were born to be Soldiers. These Soldiers flourish within the Combat Arms branches, which experience the harshest duty. These are the people who tend to stay in the Army as long as they possibly can.
Then, among the Combat Arms branches of the Army (Infantry, Armor, Field Artillery, etc.) some have an exceptional gift at fighting wars and killing the enemy. These are the Soldiers who spend much of their careers in Special Operations Forces.
A Unique Calling
I have a friend who’s got two sons in the Army who fit this category. They’re both officers and graduates of Ranger School. One of them has even completed the Special Forces Q Course.
As their father tells me about some of the scary things they do, I always ask how they’re holding up. He tells me, “They love every minute of it.” In fact, one of his sons told his dad that he actually feels guilty for “enjoying combat so much.”
Now please understand. This is not a pathological desire that he satisfies through combat. This man is a Christian believer and has a deep sense that he is an instrument in the Lord’s hand as he shoots and kills Isis and Al-Qaeda fighters. He looks at his service in the military as a divine calling.
A Dangerous World
What? Does God call men and women to be Soldiers? Can killing be part of God’s plan? Of course. Even the most ardent pacifist participates in a war raging in his own body. For God designed him with a complex immune system. This immune system includes killer cells and antibodies – whose sole purpose is to slay billions of invading bacteria and viruses. You see, God knows it’s a dangerous world out there and without our immune system – our body’s army – none of us would survive beyond a few weeks.
And even the most ardent pacifist can only practice his pacifism while others defeat the enemy which threatens his life and invades his borders. Thankfully, God raises up people to do the grisly job of killing evil and aggressive enemies. God knows that it’s a dangerous world out there and without the Armed Forces of America the diabolical forces of communism, radical Islam, and terrorism will destroy our planet. Yes, though it is beyond the comprehension of many, God calls people to fight against wicked and tyrannical regimes – and destroy them.
A Fallen World
Many Americans cannot accept the legitimacy of having a military because they fail to understand that evil exists in the world. But I’m not talking about evil forms of government or evil races of people. You see, this evil infects the hearts of every human being. It’s the disease of sin. All of us have a sinful, fallen nature that is naturally prone to selfishness, greed, pride, and violence. And if our evil passions and cravings for power go unrestrained by religion, law, or force, we will destroy ourselves. Therefore, God not only raises up clergymen and public servants. He also raises up men and women to be Soldiers, Law Enforcement officers, and Border Patrol officers – to administer His justice. They are as essential to society’s survival, as the immune system is to the body.
In Romans 13:1-7, Paul the apostle wrote that God Himself established human government and armed it with the sword of lethal force – to administer God’s justice on the earth. The military and law enforcement are both arms of the government which exercise this lethal force. Paul drew this teaching from the Scriptures. Consider all the judges in the Bible (most of whom were military leaders) whom God raised up to administer His justice (Othniel, Ehud, Shamgar, Deborah and Barak, Gideon, Jephthah, Samson, etc.). Think of David who claimed that God “armed him with strength” and “trained his hands” for battle (Psalm 18:29, 32, 34, 39). Think of the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11, who “through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, … escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies” (Hebrews 11:33-34).
Yes, God most certainly raises up and equips certain people to fight and kill the enemies of humanity and righteousness. Let’s be thankful He does.
Dear Father in heaven, thank you for raising up men and women to do the hard and hazardous work of fighting our Nation’s wars and keeping our communities safe. Continue, dear God, to call and equip men and women of God to lead our Nation on the path of righteousness and to keep us safe and free. Amen.