Recently I watched the 238th USMC Birthday message from the Commandant of the Marine Corps. This year marks the anniversary of several major campaigns. To honor these anniversaries, the message contained interviews with veterans as well as video footage from these wars. I was moved.
Generally heroism, courage, and sacrificial service move me to tears instantly. However, these tears weren't about any of those things. This time I was moved by the relentless physical demands, the "to-the-death" intensity, and the lack of refuge. War wasn't spoken of as easy, pretty, predictable, nor thrilling.
Nothing was sacred.
I found the descriptions from these vets to be challenging to my current view of the spiritual life. The Bible describes the enemy as a lion prowling around actively searching to destroy each of us. And it also speaks of the Christian life as a continual war. As I heard these grandfathers recount their experiences, I found a disconnect between my perspective/expectations and what my Bible teaches regarding war.
See, I feel like I should get weekends off from fighting. I should get passes for easy days and extra help on harder days. I should be able to choose what trials I walk through. I should get a say in the matter of deciding my future. I shouldn't have to wear a helmet if I've just done my hair or put on combat boots when it's clearly flip-flop weather.
I want easy.
I want comfort.
I want to be able to pick and choose.
The reality of battle reminds me that I can have none of this. I am enlisted into an Army. I am not in command. I have to submit to the orders of another. I have to go where I am lead. And I have to be ready to battle at any moment.
I am called to be ready, available, and equipped. Not picky, wimpy, or even trying to abandon.
Realities of war are sinking into my heart and reshaping my vision into some real BGP.