Prairie fire – August 11, 2019
I call to you, LORD, come quickly to me; hear me when I call to you.
First of all, and most of all, David was a warrior. His sword and shield did not go into storage when he became king. He claimed many victories and killed many enemies. He also found himself in extreme danger more than once.
His desperate cries for help are recorded on the pages of Holy Writ. More than once, we hear him call out, “Lord, come quickly!”
Had he been caught in danger in Southeast Asia during what is called The Vietnam War, his call to “Come quickly!” might have been expressed with the words, “Prairie fire!”
This was the code-phrase Green Beret reconnaissance teams used when they found themselves about to be overrun by the enemy. The call, “Prairie fire!” brought in all available assets to suppress enemy fire while the team was extracted by helicopter.
In January of 1971, Recon Team Colorado’s eight men were attacked by about forty North Vietnamese. We can still listen to the frantic call, “Prairie fire! Prairie fire!” from a tape of the radio transmissions that a crew in a Huey recorded on that day.
A calm voice replied, “This is Delta Papa-Three.” The coordinator announced that help was on the way.
But almost immediately, another cry of “Prairie fire! Prairie fire!” came over the radio. This was from a team ten miles away. The rescuers were needed at two places at once.
An impossible situation. Lives were lost.
Maybe we have desperately called for help when our life was at risk. Perhaps we will need to do so in the future. But it doesn’t need to be a life or death situation to make us desperate.
Desperation comes when we see no way out of a place in life where we do not want to be. Desperation does not want to be put on hold. It isn’t satisfied with, “You’ll need to wait your turn.”
When we come into a busy ER with pain and bleeding, we don’t want the doctor in charge to say, “Put him over there until we can work him in.” We want to hear the word: “STAT!”
We never want to hear the word “Impossible!”
Yet, sometimes that is precisely the case. We cannot expect miracles. Or can we?
His enemies may have counted him as already dead. He wrote, “They will say…our bones have been scattered at the mouth of the grave.”
They may say that, he thought: “But my eyes are fixed on you, Sovereign LORD; in you I take refuge—do not give me over to death” (Psalm 141: 7,8).
The LORD did not.
We think of those surrounded soldiers calling out for help to come quickly. We picture them staring into the sky and fixing their eyes on the approaching helo. They knew it would need to come in hot. We expect they were praying it would not be shot down. They probably had no idea that another team needed to be rescued at the same time.
They just knew the trouble they were in.
We think of the LORD, our God who hears cries for immediate help from countless voices all over the world at the same time. We think of the angels he sends out to guard and keep his people in need. We remember, sometimes their mission is to carry a soul to glory.
We need not worry about how busy the prayer traffic might be. The LORD can be at two places at one time. He is at every place at all times.
He has told us, “Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.”
We will remember that the next time we need to call out, “Prairie fire!”
Prayer: Sovereign LORD, we cannot comprehend what it means that you are God. We only know that you can do all things. You have assured us that you watch over us. You promise to help us in our time of need. Help us to understand that this will happen—even if we do not see the angels hovering. Amen.
Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Belle Plaine, Minnesota.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.