Embedded with the Troops

Recently a group of 10 nationally known journalists were invited to be embedded with the Army’s 4th Infantry Division in Iraq. The trip is a Pentagon sponsored excursion presumably motivated by the government’s desire to get some positive information about the war out to the public. So far their blogs have contained excellent coverage of the conditions and nightmarish situations that obviously accompany being in the Red Zone of a battle torn nation, but I also get the feeling that there are some elements of their experiences that the government doesn’t deem acceptable for public consumption.

Don’t get me wrong, I really don’t want to know every minute detail of military minutia that is transpiring in Iraq, because while my heart is with the soldiers—my mind is occupied with the civilian minutia that accompanies the typically busy American life and lifestyle. But I guarantee you this… my perspective would radically change if I were suddenly called to be embedded with the troops. I would be highly interested in every good, bad, and ugly detail—and I would be incredibly focused on two primary things:

survival and victory

But here in suburbia, I tend to be more focused on two hundred things—including, but not limited to:

2.5 kids
2 dogs
2 big of a house payment
2 many things to list!

I think it’s about time for me to change my perspective, because my perspective has been flawed. I actually am embedded with the troops in a very real and very scary war—and if I’m not focused on survival and victory, I will attain neither. That’s why the Apostle Paul was so militaristic in his methodology of reminding us about the nature of reality:

A final word: Be strong with the Lord's mighty power. Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies and tricks of the Devil. For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:10-12)

Notice how Paul makes this a “final word”—because he wants us to get it. Way too often do we hear about the spiritual war going on in the world and choose to ignore the details because we are sidetracked by the everyday happenings of life. Paul also knew that if we don’t get serious about fighting in the war, we’ll soon become a casualty of it. Here’s the way the Message puts Ephesians 6:12-

This is no afternoon athletic contest that we'll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.

So how about it soldier? You’re embedded and entrenched in an all out battle, and your life is a red zone. Focus on survival by keeping in tight communication with the Commander. Focus on victory by putting on your spiritual armor and capturing enemy territory by sharing the gospel. This is not a drill and this is not a Pentagon sponsored trip.

I’d love to share more, but I hear that my unit is being called to the front lines…care to join me?

Lane Palmer is the Youth Ministries Specialist for Dare 2 Share Ministries in Arvada, Colo., where he works with youth leaders and students, equipping them to be effective in sharing the gospel. For more information on Dare 2 Share Ministries, please visit www.dare2share.org. Find out how Dare 2 Share Ministries and Focus on the Family® are working together to capture the hearts of this generation of teenagers, visit www.capturetheirhearts.com. Send feedback to lane@dare2share.org.