Recently, I sat across the table from a former high school classmate and listened to him recount his experience in the Vietnam War. His assignment—the Phan Rang Air Base bomb dump, 150 miles northeast of Saigon—a large open area surrounded by dirt piled high to control unexpected explosions.
Hour-after-hour, soldiers clad in uniforms drenched to their legs with sweat would assemble bombs and stack them for use the next day against the Viet Cong. In 1969, during the Tet Offensive, U.S. military planes would fly so many missions his team would work every day from dawn to dusk for weeks.
“At times, I felt lost and abandoned. I tried hard not to feel sorry for myself. I knew people would die from the bombs we made, but I chose not to think about it. I just put my head down, did my job, and tried to survive while counting the days until I could ‘return to the world.’ Our only diversion was to watch helicopters fly over, or our aircraft bomb and strafe the enemy in the mountains surrounding us. We were attacked many times with rockets, mortars, and occasional ground forces. I truly believe God looked out for me.”
As I listened to my classmate’s story, I could only imagine the conflict of emotions that life in the middle of a warzone would bring. After all, my friend’s presence there along with thousands of other troops sheltered me from the horrors of a war that took place halfway around the world. For their service, I am grateful.
In the 2 Kings 6 account of another war, fear struck the heart of Elisha’s servant when he saw an army of horses and chariots surround the city. Elisha assured him that God was greater than the enemy and prayed God would give his servant eyes to see. “Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha” (2 Kings 6:17). As the enemy moved toward them, Elisha prayed that God would strike them blind, and he did as Elisha asked.
Do you face seemingly insurmountable difficulties? I’m sure my classmate, afraid at times, found comfort as he watched his comrades rid the mountains of their enemies. Scripture states that in this world we will have trouble, but because of Christ’s death and resurrection our enemy is a defeated foe. No illness, grief, financial crisis, rejection, or calamity has the power to overcome us. God always leads his children to victory.
Look to the hills. Lift up your eyes in faith and allow God to show you his triumphant power.