It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
“After the battle, everything was pretty foggy. I stopped praying; I grew up in a Christian environment, but I didn’t believe it anymore. Human flesh melting on steel? Someone’s not listening.”1
This soldier’s words are disturbing. But sadly, not surprising. They can be easily brushed aside by those who have no idea how disturbing combat can be.
Those who have seen the inside of horror may nod their heads in understanding even if they disagree with the warrior’s conclusion.
When the shock is so great, one is prone to say, “This cannot be!” At other times, one feels forced to scream, “This should not be!”
If it should not be, then someone must be at fault. Someone must be blamed.
Sometimes, it seems no one is left to blame other than the one who is said to watch over the world.
That someone is the living God.
There is a natural tendency to acknowledge that a supreme being operates on a plane higher than humans. The evidence is there in nature. The confirmation rests in one’s conscience.
To deny the existence of the One who is greater is to lie to oneself.
It can be done. But most are not willing to take that step.
More commonly, people may envision a big guy in the sky who might be able to give help.
They see him similar to a helper in a preschool room. Besides tying shoes and giving out smiles, this is the one who watches over the youngsters to keep them safe. If a scuffle breaks out, this is the one that prevents it from getting out of hand.
The helper is blamed if someone gets hurt. What good are they if they cannot keep serious harm from happening?
If God is viewed as the helper for the world, he is blamed when the horrible happens.
“Someone’s not listening!” the disgusted warrior complained.
The one he had thought of as God failed to keep the warfare to an acceptable level.
The soldier knew some could be wounded in firefights. He expected some might even die. But to his mind, none—not even one—should have their flesh melted on hot steel!
So, this angry creature of dust raised his voice in empty righteous wrath to scold his creator and judge.
Someone should warn him. Someone should remind him that the Lord of creation does not answer to him. He does not answer to anyone. And never does he fail to do what is right.
The Bible speaks of such people. It says of them, “There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Romans 3:18).
They will learn, “It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
The soldier is deadly wrong. But we understand him. That same haughty spirit lives in us, and at times, it takes control of our words and actions.
But the Spirit of Christ also dwells within us. His voice overrides the foolishness of evil. His spirit calls for forgiveness. It begs for greater strength to battle evil.
It is the voice of Satan that accuses the holy God. It is the blood of Jesus that washes away our guilt of listening to the rebellious angel.
The Holy Spirit, the Comforter from on high, quiets our disturbed souls and allows peace to come to hurting hearts.
We hear the assurance, “Be still, my soul; the Lord is on thy side.”
1From The Things they Cannot Say, page 132.
God of might, God of mercy, scold us when we dare to step out of line. Keep us on the narrow path. Call us back when we wander and hold us close when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death. If our eyes ever gaze upon the horrible, lift them up to see your glory. Show us Jesus. Amen.
Written by Rev. Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Belle Plaine, Minnesota.
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