To Battle We Go: A cry for help that must be answered

By: Dr. Steve Kellner

Medics (or corpsmen in the Navy and Marine Corps) are among the most revered and respected members of our military services. This might seem odd since they don’t typically carry weapons and, therefore, aren’t of much use in a fire fight. But combat troops know that if they are wounded a medic or corpsman will come to their aid, even under fire. When a wounded soldier shouts “Medic!”, he or she can be sure someone is coming to help. And many medics have been wounded or even killed attempting to assist their wounded comrades.

But this isn’t just a heartwarming example of brothers and sisters in arms caring for each other. It’s also a matter of combat effectiveness. Military services have learned through experience that combat troops will not advance under fire unless they know someone will come to their aid when wounded.

Strangely, even the knowledge that their bodies will be recovered if they are killed somehow comforts soldiers and motivates them to fight. That’s why our military services all have special units still looking for the remains of those killed or missing going back as far as the Civil War, and when those remains are recovered, they are buried with full military honors.

In the same way, officers and soldiers cannot and will not fully engage in the demanding work of The Salvation Army if their spiritual and emotional needs are not adequately met within the corps family.

The Bible tells us that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:12). Our Army is engaged in real spiritual warfare, the kind of fight that produces casualties on a regular basis, and we must have our version of medics on hand to aid the wounded. Otherwise, our Salvationist combat troops will either pull out of the fight altogether (burnout) or just ineffectively go through the motions of fighting the war (zombification).

When Salvationists read the part of The Salvation Army Mission Statement that says that we will meet human need without discrimination, we usually think of those outside the Army. But often that need is within our own ranks.

Some Salvationists are particularly gifted in caring for other Salvationists in the fight, and we should identify those with that gift and resource them. But every officer, local officer and soldier must make it their business to identify and meet the needs of those fighting with them.

The cry for help may be hard to hear above the noise and confusion of spiritual combat, but it can still be heard by those with ears to hear. Let’s all be listening for the cry of “Medic!” from our fellow Salvationists.