10th November 2016

Warning Shots

“You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.”
2 Timothy 2:3-4 (NKJV) 

In 1964 I spent six months on active service in Borneo with the 1st Battalion, The Royal Green Jackets. Although we were based at Semengo Camp, just outside Kuching, there were three forward outposts, from where we sent out patrols. By having several locations, the Indonesian Insurgents could never be certain where we were based. Sometimes they attacked these forward outposts at night.

On one occasion, I visited our outpost at Bau Lake, a very pretty part of Borneo. On the return trip the helicopter had to evacuate a soldier who was ill, and as a result there was no room for me. That meant I had to stay at the outpost overnight. Sometime between 10 and 11.00 p.m. we heard firing from the jungle, the alarm sounded and we all ran to our defensive positions. In the jungle, darkness is just that—dark, and so thick you can’t see the man next to you. Throughout a tense night we strained our eyes at the darkness, sometimes imagining a movement or hearing a sound, but our discipline held and nobody fired, although occasionally we would hear shots being fired somewhere in the jungle around us. At first light we sent out a patrol to determine the reason for the firing. It turned out to be a Malaysian army patrol who were lost, and firing in the air in the hope that someone would hear and come and find them. So no harm was done, other than a sleepless night. What lessons are there for us as Christians in this incident?

First, the army trained us well and we were prepared for any attack. Christians should also train themselves well, growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, (2 Peter 3:18) so we, too, are prepared if we are attacked.

Second, our defensive arcs of fire slightly overlapped so it would have been lethal for any enemy attacking us. In the same way God has covered and protected us from every angle even if we don’t realise it (Philippians 1:6).

Third, we knew we were in a potentially dangerous situation and stayed alert throughout the hours of darkness. As Christians, we must never allow ourselves to go to sleep spiritually (Romans 13:11).

Finally, after a dark, tense and sleepless night, relief came at first light. Today, living in a dark and sometimes tense world can be draining, unless we stay focused on the God of light (John 1:1-5 ). We know that the light of God’s truth will bring true relief to all humanity.

All powerful Father, help us to be good soldiers in your peaceful army—well-trained, alert, confident in following Christ and looking forward to His return with all the blessings that will bring for all humanity. In Christ’s name, we pray.

Study by Keith Hartrick


keithhartrickAbout the Author:
Keith Hartrick is an Elder in Grace Communion Church – Leeds, and serves on the Church Council there.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion – Leeds
Garden Village Welfare Association
Community Centre
Pendas Way

Meeting Time:
Saturday 2PM

Local Congregational Contact:
Malcolm Arnold
Phone: 01484-312347
Email: malcolm701@googlemail.com

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