Permit me to share a short illustration from my real life.
On Wednesdays at noon, I lead a Bible study for my soldiers in my unit. I feed them lunch and we go to the Scriptures.
Currently we are walking verse-by-verse through the gospel of John. Today we were in John 11. This is where Lazarus dies, where Jesus weeps, where Jesus commands a dead man (Lazarus) to come out of the tomb. Eyewitnesses were in rapt attention. And at the word of Christ, a corpse came out of the tomb. Correction: A corpse didn’t come out of the tomb; a live man came out of the tomb, at the express will of God in Christ. How? Because Jesus has power over life and death, because God raises the dead, because God is God.
I walked the guys through the text. They asked questions. We all marveled at the hardness of heart of the scribes and Pharisees. We rejoiced at the reality that God’s power is monergistic. His will cannot be thwarted. Some believed Him and the evidence; others with hard hearts denied the evidence and turned away; still others hated Jesus and tried to kill him. Yet God’s will prevailed. Jesus continued His mission to the cross; He was betrayed, crucified, buried, and raised on the third day–in precise fulfillment of prophecies in both the Old Testament and New Testament. God’s will was being executed, His plan for the fullness of time, fulfilled.
As the hour wore on in our study today, we had all interacted with the Scriptures, trying to picture Lazarus, Mary, Martha, the scribes, the Pharisees, and of course, the Lord Jesus. It’s important to realize these were real men and women on a real day that had a real sunrise and a real sunset. History matters, so I try to take time with the guys, getting them to see the context of what we read. Details matter.
And I let a pause hang in the air, trying not to talk too much, but to sense where the guys were, and what God was and is doing.
Then, one of the toughest guys I’ve ever met, a guy who has more muscles than I can even name, a guy who runs marathons and triathalons and has all the toughest schools the Army can offer him, looked at me and said, “Chaplain, can we pray?”
He voiced concerns over the murders in TX, the politicization of nearly everything, and asked if I’d pray for it all, and even for our guys in the unit.
Folks, I cannot comment on things political as a soldier still in uniform, but when my guys, guys that are my mission field, ask their chaplain to pray, it is one of the greatest blessings in my life. It reaches my very core.
And all I could do, as I struggled to find the words and prayed publicly before my men, was to also say silently to myself: Thank you, Lord, for who You are. Thank You for what You are doing in and through these men.