when things blow up around you.

A quick thought about things blowing up.

An older man who I really respect told me a story recently.  It was a memory of his from his time in Korea during the war.  He was a young man then, and still shaping his ideas about God, life, and purpose; and he was doing it while driving a tank in a war.

He said he went to chapel very few times during his time on the battlefield.  But he remembered one time in particular when his commanding officer announced the coming of a chaplain to their camp, which was just off the front lines. The officer in charge  encouraged all who wanted to meet with the chaplain to do so.  The chaplain arrived in a small convoy with two guards.  They stopped, set up a tent, and a crowd gathered, sitting on their helmets under the shelter.  Shortly after the chaplain began to speak a line of tanks drove by.  The noise the tanks created on the bank of the river they camped at caused the chaplain to stop talking and wait so he could be heard.  One of the tanks hit a mine, causing an explosion.  People scrambled, as you can imagine, but when the dust settled, the young soldier noticed something.

In the aftermath of the explosion, the chaplain had closed up shop and left.

Military chaplains are brave and honorable people who deserve our respect and prayers.  They are truly missionaries in uniforms, and this incident is not a reflection of any judgement on that noble calling.

But it caused me to think.  As Christians, people who bear the name of Christ Jesus to a broken world, we must not run for safer places when things start to blow up around us.  My prayer is for strength and fortitude to stand firm when life is hard.  To be present when those around me are hurting, scared, in crisis, and unsure.  When the dust of life occasionally settles, people need to hear a message of hope.  We can’t share it unless we are still there.


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