Finding Peace in a Foxhole
Backs against the dirt wall, they fumbled for new clips. The sound of rockets buzzing overhead and gunfire zipping past their ears was deafening to the point it was hard to think. Brand glanced over at his buddy who had his eyes tightly closed as he mumbled inaudibly. “What’s wrong?” yelled Brand.
His buddy glanced at him and smiled, “Just making peace with God.”
“No need for that,” Brand scowled. “We’re gonna make it!”
“I just wanna to know where I’m going, just in case. Don’t you?”
They both popped their heads up and opened fire. Padapop. Padapop. Padapop.
Ducking back down, Brand responded, “Nowhere!”
His buddy looked back confused, “What?”
Brand tried to yell over the roar of death surrounding them, “I’m not going anywhere! I’m atheist.”
“You sure ‘bout that?” asked his buddy.
Zip. Zip. Zip.
At that moment a bullet ripped through his buddy’s throat. Brand dropped to his knees. “NO!” His eyes began to swell as he embraced his buddy’s lifeless body. Slowly anger began to consume him. “What kind of God would allow this?” Brand picked his blood-speckled weapon off the ground and took aim. Padapop. Padapop.
His mind began to race through his anger. If there is a God I don’t want anything to do with him. Padapop. Padapop.
Looking up to heaven he yelled, “I don’t believe in you! You are a cruel God!”
Suddenly a rocket landed 30 feet down the foxhole sending shrapnel into his leg and shoulder. Intense pain brought him down in the mud. Brand yelled out as his piercing wounds throbbed relentlessly. He tried to reach for his weapon, but pain shot through his arm and hand.
He looked around for help only to see his buddy’s cold corpse lying beside him. Closing his eyes he tried to escape the harsh realities surrounding him. Brand smiled as he recalled his college years—the best years of his life until September 11th his junior year. Just one week later he enlisted in the Marines, where he and his buddy first met. Glancing over at him again Brand was struck with a nauseating fear. What if I’m wrong? What if there is a God? Am I going to hell?
The cold wet mud was soaking through his clothes, causing his body to shake uncontrollably. I don’t want to go to hell. “God, I don’t want to go to hell!”
Wait – I’m atheist. I don’t believe in God. Or do I? Brand struggled to think in the midst of his terrifying situation. He was going to die, and he wanted to know where he was going.
He remembered going to church with his Grandma Ruth. He even attended Sunday school for a short time, learning about Jesus’ love through his death on the cross. But science proves there isn’t a God. Evolution explains everything. Thinking back, evolution seemed easier to believe when he was attending college. Now … it didn’t make a whole lot of sense.
Brand closed his eyes and prayed, “Jesus! I do believe in you! I do! Please forgive me for the life I’ve lived and for denying you for so long. Help me get through this …” All of a sudden he felt a peace like never before as his pain was lifted from him. There was a bright and blinding light filling him with warmth. And a sound … what is that yelling?
His eyes opened.
“Revely, revely! Get your butts out of your racks! Just because it’s Sunday morning doesn’t mean you can waste the day past 0500!” yelled the drill instructor.
Brand scurried out of bed and stood at attention at the end of his rack.
“You have two minutes to get your racks squared away, now get to it!”
Immediately everyone silently got to work at making his beds. Brand carefully caught the attention of his buddy whose rack was next to his.
His buddy glanced over and whispered, “I hope you thought about our conversation last night. Wanna join me for chapel this morning?”
With an enthusiastic smile Brand responded, “Yes, I do.”
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