Every soldier knows the smell of war, battle, and a call to arms. We get a taste of it when we are training in the field or on the rifle range. I picked up the scent for a moment as I prepared for our next presentation early this morning. It caught me off guard, but it was comforting and familiar. As the sun begins to rise over a chilled York County, I sense the sun rising over a new chapter of my life. While we have a few weeks until we set off for the airport to head to Guatemala, I am envisioning my first deployment to Iraq.
Geared up with equipment, knowledge, excitement, and a little bit of fear my company boarded a big jetliner to travel to the other side of the world for combat. The hair raises on the back of my neck as I relive the string of moments and my mind connects the parallel journey upon which my wife and I are about to embark.
As we enter the final stages of preparation, I realize we are preparing for war. We have declared war on the darkness of this world. A few years ago we enlisted in God’s army to follow Him into whatever land He calls us. I remember as a kid in Sunday school I once had the notion to be a “Soldier for Christ,” not fully realizing what that meant, but knowing it was something I wanted to be.
I think back to my Marine Corps days of cleaning my rifle, sharpening my K-Bar, and securing my pack. We constantly did comm checks and ran through scenarios. We intently studied the latest intelligence reports and tried to connect with troops already “on the ground” to get an accurate and real-time report of what is happening. This is no different.
Even though we are going to be in language school for our first 6 months, we are in for a tough battle. Not only will we be trying to learn a foreign language and culture, but we have been warned of the immense spiritual oppression in the areas we will be living. Thankfully we are equipped for such things: Ephesians 6:10-17
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, 15 and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; 16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
What then shall we fear?