“Then I heard the Lord asking, ‘Whom should I send as a messenger to
this people? Who will go for us?’ I said, “Here I am. Send me.'” (Isaiah 6:8)
Betty and I watched the memorial service from Ft. Hood on Tuesday, honoring our soldiers in such a powerful and meaningful way. I don’t know when I have been so emotionally moved. As I looked at the memorials of those killed – a photo of the deceased in front of an empty pair of boots with the downward-aimed rifle, capped by the camouflage helmet – tears welled up in my eyes. I thought of the parents, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters and children, somehow feeling the emptiness in their lives like an irreplaceable void.
And to think of the horrific way in which it occurred—right here in the homeland, in the center of our largest military base. As I looked at those helmets and boots, I couldn’t help but think of all the precious sons and daughters who were found lying in some sandy foreign battlefield, or perhaps near some insane, improvised explosive device. For those memorials, there is honor and respect, but they do not typically include the leading General, Secretary of Defense and even the President of the United States publicly paying last respects. Gratitude is expressed to the families, but the general public doesn’t see each instance that the most priceless and precious gift is laid down for the greatest gift any of us any of us ever experience—the gift of life and the freedom to live it in a meaningful way.
I was deeply moved as Gen. Casey referred to the Scriptures as “God’s Holy Word” and noted that these verses are read at the departure of everyone we lose in the Armed Services. From the book of Isaiah: “Whom will I send, and who will go for us?” And of course, our soldiers answer, “Here am I. Send me.”
Yes, this is what our Armed Forces in this great nation of America, this “one nation under God,” have always willingly said. We have said it in defense of everything sacred, dear, meaningful and appropriate since the birthing of this nation. I found it amazing that this general would so openly refer to God in the Scriptures and couldn’t help but wonder how long it will be before someone voices their opposition to it, just as they have to any reference to God in our schools and public places.
These critical forces controlled by all that is committed to destroying true freedom will not stop trying to limit the true defenders of faith and freedom in every possible way. They constantly harass those who shout truth from the housetops. They do not want it on the airwaves and they do not want it spoken in worship assemblies and houses of faith if it affects their destructive purposes.
Many of those who are leading our country away from our freedom that was purchased and protected at such great cost seem unaware that they are doing this. I believe they are deceived. Forces of evil are continually waiting to find places to express their deadly intentions. We must understand that everything opposing true freedom and genuine faith in God was born in the pit of destruction and carried by voices of deception.
Earlier this week, I was meditating on the Scriptures. God was correcting His people in Isaiah for not being fruitful and not caring for the fertile field He had given them and the productive potential He had entrusted to their care. He talked about how the hedges and walls of protection would be broken down and the once-productive ground would be trampled. God went on to say that there is great sorrow for those who tow their sins behind them with ropes made of lies and drag wickedness behind them like a cart. 1
They even mock God and say, “Hurry up and do something. We want to see what You can do. Let the Holy One of Israel carry out His plan. We want to know what it is.” 2
Through his prophet Isaiah, God laments, “What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter. What sorrow for those who are wise in their own eye and think themselves so clever. What sorrow for those who are heroes at drinking wine and boast about all the alcohol they can hold. They take bribes to let the wicked go free, and they punish the innocent.” 3
These verses warn people of the judgment that will surely come to those who live deceived and deceiving, controlled not only by the spirit of this world but the spirit of darkness and destruction. It’s important to keep in mind that this chapter precedes the chapter from which General Casey read; the passage read at the loss of every soldier.
The prophet Isaiah said he, along with the people, were the ones undone, had unclean lips, and wanted God to touch their lips to make them clean. God told him that he removed the guilt and forgave him. Then the Lord asked, “Who will I send, and who will go for us?” Isaiah answered, “Here am I. Send me.”
Believe it with all your heart: Our soldiers are defending this freedom and our soldiers have died not only to protect the freedom here at home, but they have died on foreign battlefields to see other nations and people set free. No other nation on earth has spilled so much blood to stop slavery, oppression, tyranny, dictatorship and evil.
There is no question that we have many issues that should concern us. Every church leader and national leader needs to lift his and her voice to call our nation back to the principles that made us great. It is high time for every person who holds truth and freedom dear to stand up and call every party, every politician and every person in this nation back to principles that made us great and are necessary to keep us great.
Forty-eight years ago, when I was only 18 years old, I answered the call of God to proclaim His truth to the ends of the earth. I said, “Here am I. Send me.” Nearly 30 years ago, God showed me that most Christians live as prisoners in the Promised Land. I recognized that as a highly-visible preacher, I had allowed defeat to become a recurring fact in my own life. I was not living full of the Spirit and love of God. I had a gift, but I wasn’t living in freedom. When I began to proclaim the freedom and fullness we should live in as believers, churches and lives were impacted. I stood boldly against the evil forces in our land, within the church and the ever-building nuclear threat. In many ways, the nation was impacted and began to take a stand against the horrible menace of Soviet communism and aggression.
I have shared only with a few people, but in the weeks after having hip replacement surgery in September, a horrible, deadly, evil force manifest in my body. Staph infection exploded like a time bomb. In two hours, I went from being able to walk and move freely to being unable to move. I reached a point where I couldn’t lift a cup of water. It took a repeat surgery to do everything possible to drive out the infection.
For weeks, my precious wife (I call her Nurse Betty) has given me IV’s every eight hours to fight this horrible invading force. As I have walked on this journey, God has done a deep and meaningful work in my life. He has shown me that evil must not be tolerated because there are forces of evil committed to destroy everything meaningful and precious to us. As Christians, and hopefully as true Americans, we must never march in step with those destructive forces that can explode in any moment, just as it did at Fort Hood.
There is mounting evidence that Major Nadil Malik Hasan was lurking, waiting for the right moment to commit the first terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11. Like a staph infection harbored within our bodies, the vicious force waits for the opportunity to destroy life. This is why evil must not be tolerated – not in our military, not in our neighborhoods and not in our personal lives. We must see it as the destructive force that it is and deal with it. We may walk as I will, with a limp, but know that only God can free us from the power of evil. Liberty begins first in us and then spreads like the light of dawn to the world around us.
Our soldiers give their lives to save life. They give their lives just as the good cells in my blood are capturing an enemy and destroying it with the assistance of antibiotics, medical care and the prayers of many friends. Every dangerous foe needs to be identified, isolated and eliminated. That’s a fact of life in the human body and it’s a fact of life on this earth. If a doctor cannot diagnose infection, he cannot deal with it. If our leaders do not recognize evil in our country, and if the church doesn’t wake up and begin to deal with it, then our future is bleak and our days as a free people and a prosperous nation are numbered.
With a broken heart, I am crying out, “Wake up, church! Wake up, America!” The government is not the answer. Politicians are not the answer. The truths of God’s Word and the time-tested principles that never fail are the solid foundation on which we must rebuild. Join me in earnest prayer, not only for the comfort of the families suffering loss, but for a nation to have the wisdom to return to God so that every one of us can say boldly and bravely like our soldiers, “Here am I, send me. I will stand as a light set on a hill. I will not hide under a bushel of conformity and religious tradition. I will be unashamedly an ambassador for Christ. I will not bow. I will not bend. I will worship God and exalt him to the highest!”
Every moment we live enjoying freedom’s blessing, let us diligently seek to share it with those less fortunate and with those who do not know our living Lord Jesus.
Pray for those impacted by the attack at Fort Hood. Pray for wisdom in our leadership and Divine intervention in the lives of those on the battlefield.
“Lord, grant us your mercy and peace. Spare us from the evil that seeks to kill, steal and destroy. Send your peace upon the earth. In the name of Jesus, amen.”
1 Isaiah 5:18
2 Isaiah 5:19
3 Isaiah 5:20-23