I remember this song from Sunday school:
I’m a soldier in the army, I’m a soldier in the army of the Lord
If I live let me live in the army, If I live let me live in the army,
If I live let me live in the army, If I live let me live in the army of the Lord
If I die let me die in the army, If I die let me die in the army,
If I die let me die in the army, If I die let me die in the army of the Lord.
Today I was watching the Mashujaa Day celebrations and I saw something I hadn’t thought about before it hit me right between the eyes. You see, the disciplined forces were on parade at the event and their levels of precision were amazing. It was amazing watching them moving from three lines to two, spacing themselves just right; marching in time with each other while saluting and looking at their commander in chief; getting ready to remove the presidential podium; their speed, precision and intensity was off the hook. Then I realised that this kind of behaviour doesn’t come out of the blue but is practised and cultivated over time.
I began to understand that life in the disciplined forces is different. In the disciplined forces everyone takes orders and obeys them promptly. There is no negotiating or wheeling and dealing. Training starts by breaking away from the way one’s mind worked in the past and putting lots of focus and practice into forming new thought processes and allegiances. My simple understanding of this is that you are responsible for your buddy, the safety of your nation hence you are required to respond accurately, immediately and unconditionally to orders. In the heat of the battle you defend your team and don’t leave anyone behind. Even after you leave the forces you are still a part of an elite team…you always belong. Finally there are consequences for disobeying orders. An order somewhat obeyed is an order disobeyed.
Just last week a minister friend of mine brought perspective on a similar parallel for us as Christians. He is part of a team of ministers who are committed to the service of God and are driven by the passion to serve God to the fullest of their calling all the days of their lives. They have learnt to be ready at all times for any assignment or should I say deployment? They always have their travel documents on hand and a bag packed in case an assignment comes up that has to be handled immediately. Imagine living with that kind of expectancy and readiness; it changes life completely. As I listened I silently wondered what it took for them to get there. Oh how I would love that to be there on a daily basis.
As followers of Christ we are called to live like soldiers…2 Tim 2:4 No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer.
We are called to be ready in and out of season to testify, serve or be deployed wherever and whenever needed; to travel light and carry little to no luggage except the essentials; to stay connected to purpose and interested in establishing the kingdom of God; to live as true examples of the love, compassion, forgiveness and the true character of God. Our Commander In Chief is the reason we walk tall. He is honest and true and leads us in everlasting paths. We are called to trust Him no matter what and know that He will not send us anywhere that would destroy us. His will is for the good and protection of humanity. This makes me think about an earthly Commander In Chief who seeks the peace and protection of the nation over and above everything else. The role of the defence forces is safety and protection and they give up their lives willingly for the same. They know that they stand between the enemy and the safety of the people and they fight for that.
My mind is still reeling and I have more questions than answers today so I will share them and let each one of us answer them for ourselves.
- Why do so many of us struggle with fully following the instructions we receive that we hesitate when the instructions aren’t the usual or are outside our usual scope?
- How do we learn to trust unconditionally and freely that God indeed is able?
- Could it be that there is so much room to grow that we haven’t uncovered?
- Do I know that the world depends on my obedience and action according to the will and plan of God?
- Am I willing to put myself between the danger and the people for the sake of their lives?
- Am I more concerned about the state of the nation and my call to service than filling my stomach and stockpiling for myself?
So many questions that need to be answered. Shalom.