Poppy slammed down the morning paper and stared hard at her husband Phil who perused the sporting section. The intensity of her gaze caused Phil to look up from his paper. “What’s up?” he asked, bewildered.
“It’s the newspaper,” she said.
“And what about the newspaper?”
“Oh, all this war news. I’m sick and tired of reading about people getting killed by terrorists: bombings, beheadings and all the rest. War is for mean, sick-minded people. It’s no better than all those murders and kidnappings you read about. And on the TV screen it’s even worse. Too graphic! You can actually see people suffering, covered with blood and dying while their women stand by weeping. Why does God allow all this suffering anyway? I can’t bear it. It’s making me depressed.”
Phil reached over and put a gentle hand over that of his wife. This was no case for platitudes, he knew. As an army chaplain in constant touch with the wounded, war had gotten to him also. God alone knew how many hours he had spent in the chapel on his knees praying for the soldiers. And praying for answers to the miseries of war. But just last week the Holy Spirit had spoken to him and now he searched his mind for the right words to express those thoughts that were so new and radical.
“Poppy,” he began, “this business of war is enough to make anyone feel discouraged. Members of Congress are crying, ‘enough’. But they don’t see the results of the conflict the way I do. Why, just yesterday, I sat at the bedside of a young man whose leg was torn up. He was angry, like you, but it wasn’t about his leg. He was mad that he had to lie in a hospital bed while his buddies were out there fighting. He’d already asked to return to Iraq. He didn‘t feel that his efforts had been in vain.”
Phil glanced at the skeptical expression on Poppy’s face and continued slowly, “He’s not the only one like that. I see it every day. These young men and women are proud of what they’re doing. They’re not only out there fighting but they’re helping these people establish their freedom from tyranny. They’re showing them what democracy is all about and that‘s a good thing.” He stopped and shook his head. “I’ve never seen such courage and determination in all my life as I’ve seen among those hospital beds. It’s amazing how many of these youngsters are Christians. And many of those who aren’t are open to the Gospel message. This war that’s so unpopular at home seems to be building a generation of faithful, courageous men and women the like of which has never been seen since the revolutionary war. I think of them as young Davids going up to face Goliath.”
“You seem so sure of yourself,” said Poppy, in wonder. “Doesn’t the stench of death bother them at all?”
“Sure. Of course it does. But the mission they’re on overshadows the doubt and despair. I believe that’s why the devil is so anxious to end this war and bring our soldiers home. He knows that it’ll destroy the work he’s so busily engaged in: abortion rights, destruction of marriage, separation of church and state. I believe that our soldiers will return with a vengeance and set everything to rights again. They’ll want to protect our freedoms like they’re helping the Iraqis do right now. And, another thing, the sanctity of human life is so important to them. Once you’ve had a close encounter with death, life takes on a whole new meaning.”
“So you think God has a purpose beyond restoring Iraq. He’s doing it to help our country as well. That’s a whole new thought.”
“It might even be fulfillment of Biblical prophecy. Consider the souls that are being saved throughout the middle east by our military efforts. Then consider the harvest for Christ when they return. Call me a dreamer, if you will, but I predict an abundance of souls and a harvest of peace and love throughout the land.”
Poppy smiled delightedly. “Now I know why I married you. Your spiritual gift must be the power of persuasion.”
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