When the Trumpet Sounds
In frenzied excitement he eats up the ground; he cannot stand still when the trumpet sounds. At the blast of the trumpet he snorts, ‘Aha!’ He catches the scent of battle from afar, the shout of commanders and the battle cry (Job 39:24,25).
The civilian may try, but he will never fully understand. He will watch, but never feel the same as the veterans who rise out of wheelchairs to salute the passing flag. He will see the ramrod straight back of the Marine snapping to attention. But he will never fully know what happens inside of a warrior when the trumpet sounds the call to war.
Many assume that war is an excuse to destroy and kill. Some expect that it is a searching for excitement and glory. For some it may be. But not for most who have donned the uniform and answered the call.
Willingness seems out of place when a person might die. But look at the faces in the pictures of troops deploying after Pearl Harbor or 9/11. Eager! Look at the faces after the battles at Iwo Jima and the Tet Offensive. Determined.
Not all who run to danger are foolish. Not all are naïve. Most feel an inner need to protect others. They know their nation has called them.
The Lord points us to the example of the war horse. He doesn’t shy from the sounds of battle, as most horses would. He gallops toward danger. That is where he wants to be. Where he needs to be. Where God wants him to be.
In the Book of Job, the Lord uses the description of the war horse to teach us something about those that he calls to defend others. He wants us to understand them better. He wants them to understand him better. He asks the reader: “Do you give the horse his strength?” The answer is clear. The answer is, “Not me, but God.”
The faithful warrior is a mystery to many people. Some say that his brain is wired differently. Some say it is a case of an over-developed sense of patriotism. Some don’t know what to say. The Bible’s answer is clear. The answer is God.
The faithful warrior is God’s gift to a nation. Good pay and self-glory cannot take the place of the inner calling given by the Lord of nations. It is a call to service.
At a time when qualities such as honor, sacrifice, and faithfulness have faded from popularity, God still instills in some hearts the drive to protect others, even at risk to themselves. Like the war horse, they know where they belong.
However, they do need to be reminded that their strength comes from the Lord, and they are answerable to him in all things. Lest they become what the poet describes as,
“All valiant dust that builds on dust,
And guarding, calls not Thee to guard…”
When the trumpet must call to war, may the Lord of the Nations continue to provide Americans who know they must answer the call—and serve him by serving our nation.
We pray the old prayer*:
God of our fathers, known of old—
Lord of our far-flung battle line—
Beneath Whose awful hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!
*Recessional by Rudyard Kipling
Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain
and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida
Provided by WELS Ministry to the Military