Not R & R
But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my
name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name” (Acts 9:15,16).
The recruiter may highlight all the benefits of wearing the uniform. The veteran will tell of the cost.
Military service may bring a person to exotic places, and allow him to come into contact with powerful people. But there is another side. Some sacrifices will need to be made. Some pain must be endured. The life of a warrior is not an endless stretch of rest and recreation.
Few who enter the service expect that. They have heard about basic training. They have probably seen movies that portrayed the pain and misery that is part of advanced training. They expect that some suffering will be involved.
How strange then, that many who are called up to serve in the Kingdom of God are surprised to find tough days coming their way. They should know better.
His name had been Saul. He was from Tarsus. His mother was Jewish. His dad held Roman citizenship. We know him best as Saint Paul, the Apostle. He became one of the greatest missionaries the Christian church ever knew. We honor him yet. Some name their sons after him. He accomplished grand and glorious victories in service to his Lord. But it was not the vision of victory or the glory that his Recruiter placed before his eyes.
“I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”
Those who serve the Lord of Glory should not expect an easy life. They live on a battlefield. The enemy is fierce and powerful—and relentless. It is not easy to be a Christian soldier on active duty. The uniform draws fire from demonic forces in ambush. The mission invites opposition. Sometimes one must sacrifice his earthly life.
That’s what happened to the famous Apostle Paul: imprisoned, flogged, beaten with rods, almost stoned to death, and three times shipwrecked.
In the end he was executed.
But he was not defeated. His mission did not fail. He had written, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).
So are we.
Name any sacrifice we have had to make because we are Christians. Point to any obstacle we needed to overcome because of our faith. Make the list of everything we ever had to suffer because of our faithfulness. They count for nothing!
What counts is Christ. It is an honor and a privilege to suffer in service to him.
That is part of our calling.
We remember the words of the hymn:
Let none hear you idly saying, “There is nothing I can do,”
While the multitudes are dying, And the Master calls for you.
Take the task he gives you gladly;
Let his work your pleasure be.
Answer quickly when he calleth,
“Here am I—send me, send me!” Amen.
Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain
and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida
Provided by WELS Ministry to the Military