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Stephen A. Peterson
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Stephen A. Peterson
At some point in every person’s life, a challenge will arise that tests one’s courage to do what is right. That said, there have been and always will be those who, through philosophical justification or fear, will fail to do what they can and should do.
Sergeant Major Curtis Braithwaite, a World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War veteran, was, in addition to a well decorated combat veteran and senior parachutist in the United States Army became a trainer late in his military career. As a trainer at the Fort Benning Airborne School, he was responsible for training many officers and non-commissioned officers to be fearless parachutist for the Army.
Some soldiers, now and in the past, became Airborne soldiers. But most, who reported for duty in the Army’s Airborne School, did not earn this honor for one reason or another. Generally, the soldiers never conquered their fear of height or could learn to trust their equipment provided by the Army or their peers.
A young soldier, on his first day of Airborne School, came to Sergeant Major Braithwaite seeking individual lessons to become not only a parachutist but the best parachutist in the United States Army. The veteran soldier obliged starting the young soldier with the basics to overcoming his fear of height, then gradually increasing the height. Finally, the day came when Sergeant Major Braithwaite said to the young soldier: “Now, Private, the time has come for you to get up in the plane and jump out of a perfectly good plane. I’ve taught you everything I and the Army know. Come on, let’s go with the rest of your classmates and perform! In my professional opinion, you’re ready!”
Well, the young Private went up. But just before everyone was about to hook, he froze. “I’m afraid I can’t do it, Sergeant Major!” he said in a low tone of voice then sat down as everyone lined up.
The Sergeant Major, in an unusual gesture, went over to the fearful Private put his hand on the soldier’s shoulder. “Get up, Private! You can do it!” he said. “Look up to the bright blue sky. You’ll see the face of God. He’ll take your soul in His hand and guide you to solid ground and your body will follow you. If you can’t trust me, your buddies and your equipment, then put your trust in Him. He will be your guide. He is your leader!”
A most unusual order? Perhaps. But the young Private understood the Sergeant Major. He moved to the front of the formation and without hesitation or another word said jumped into the Hands Of God.
Every Christian man, woman and child is a soldier for Jesus Christ. They always have been but fail to meet their leaders’ call or prompting. Today, as it was in the past, Christians have been challenged to stand up and leap into their culture for Christ. Many are fearful as they have not placed their souls into the hands of their Captain trusting that He will take care of them wherever they may be or go. As the Sergeant Major said to the Private, “I have given you everything you need to succeed…” Jesus Christ has done the same in a hostile, resistant and openly bias society against Christianity. Now it is up to you/us to follow through without fear.
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