Charge The Hill!
By: Dr. Steve Kellner
Basic training for most military services ends with a summation field exercise that requires the trainees to use all that they have learned in their training. This was the case for me more than 40 years ago in Army basic training at Fort Dix, New Jersey. My summation exercise (I forget its name) experience included staying awake for 48 hours, navigating through the woods at night with a compass and flares, an overnight forced march, and, most memorably, a night ambush.
Sometime in the wee hours of the morning during the overnight march my company was ambushed by a unit of our trainers as we marched through a small valley. The ambushing unit was on top of the ridge shooting down at us, a perfect ambush position. They were shooting blanks of course, but the muzzle flash from M-16’s and training grenades, along with the stinging smoke from tear gas canisters, still scared the daylights out of us, especially in our sleep deprived state. For a few seconds we were completely disoriented, and chaos reigned. But then our training kicked in and we charged up the hill. When we got to the top, we were surprised to see that there were only a few soldiers in the ambush party.
You might think that a sensible response to being ambushed would be to run in the other direction or, at the very least, lie down and take cover. In fact, the correct tactical response is to charge the ambush and attempt to overrun it. Believe it or not, in most cases less casualties are taken by charging than by running or taking cover. But charging requires you to overcome your natural fear and trust your training.
The world’s assault on our Christian faith and morality generally can sometimes feel like an ambush. And Satan launches his ambushes from well prepared positions. The assault often comes from the commanding heights of our culture, from the leaders of our political and educational institutions, business leaders, famous celebrities, and sometimes even from church leaders. Often, it comes when we’re in a valley of discouragement, whether caused by our own spiritual condition, or with some situation in our family, our friend group, or corps. It’s easy to become overwhelmed and give in to the temptation to run or hide.
But our training kicks in for Christians and Salvationists and helps us overcome our fears, enabling us to engage the enemy from a position of strength. Jesus says “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) We can continue to initiate contact with a fallen world and overrun Satan’s position with the truth and power of the gospel. And when we fight back in Jesus’ name, it often turns out that, though Satan’s ambush party makes a lot of noise and creates plenty of flash and smoke, it isn’t as strong as it seems. “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)
But all this assumes we are trained and ready to fight. Are we? If so, feel the fear and charge the hill!