Tell That Fox
At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, “Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you.” He replied, “Go tell that fox, ‘I will drive out demons and heal people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.’ In any case, I must keep going today and tomorrow and the next day—for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem! (Luke 13:31-33)
He radioed in only two words. Then he repeated them. “Broken arrow! Broken arrow!” The civilian might wonder what he meant. To the U.S. military the meaning is clear and chilling: “Direct all fire on my position!”
When the firebase was being overrun at Ia Drang, Vietnam, when there was little chance to repel the enemy, the only hope lay in massive firepower poured in at that spot.
But what about the U.S. troops? Some would say it was a call for suicide by friendly fire. It was not. It was a call for rescue. The Americans would hunker down in foxholes or anyplace they could find some shelter. The enemy would be caught in the open and decimated. It was an extreme option. But it was the only hope for survival.
In a transferred sense, the Season of Lent is the time when Christians raise their cries of “Broken arrow!” to the Lord their God.
During these days, we take a cold look at our spiritual life. We weigh the possibilities of survival. The closer we look, the more we are aware that the enemy is too strong. His attacks are too numerous. Our defenses are too weak. And many have already fallen in battle.
We have no choice but to call in upon ourselves the deadly judgment of the holy God.
With the psalmist we call out, “Judge me, O Lord!” But how do we expect to escape his firepower? Will he not see us as the enemy? Won’t our sin form a target for his anger? Where can we find safety when his judgments rain down on us?
Don’t we have to admit with Isaiah, “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” (Isaiah 64:6)?
It is true, there is no righteousness in us. But there is a righteousness over us. As a hero rushes to cover his comrade with his own body when the mortar round explodes, so our God covers us with his holiness. The psalmist compares the Lord to an eagle protecting its young: “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” (Psalm 91:4)
We call. He answers. He fights our spiritual enemies for us. Not one can stand before him. When the smoke clears, we as conquerors hold the field.
The call of Lent is a cry for help: “Our help is in the name of the Lord.”
To our Savior God we call out, “Broken Arrow! Broken Arrow!”
Holy almighty God and judge of all, your Word shows us just how helpless and hopeless our situation is. We cannot fight off the powers of darkness who would kill our faith and rob us of life. In our desperation we call upon you to come with your firepower of judgment. Cover us with your holiness that we may be rescued. Give us renewed strength and courage to carry on with our fight against all that oppose you.
Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain
and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida
Provided by WELS Ministry to the Military