When I started this blog, I never intended to write about war. It was only the most emotionally and spiritually intense period of my life - what was I thinking???
In Nate Self's "Two Wars", he overlays his experience in the battle of Takur Ghar (Roberts' Ridge) as a spiritual battle between good and evil, God and the devil. He sees the Taliban fighters as physical representatives of evil spiritual forces, bent on destroying the good spiritual forces of the operators trapped on that mountain. We are the good guys, they are the bad guys, and Jesus is on our team - evidenced by Nate's cry out to Jesus in the midst of that battle and his subsequent survival. I wish it were that simple.
Don't misunderstand me - the USA is the good guy in that conflict, and our soldiers are the good guys when they fight against the Taliban, Al-Queda, and ISIS fighters (among others). The reason for this simple - we have nothing to gain. We do not fight to get something from the citizens affected. We fight to free them, to choose what they want for themselves, even if it doesn't make us happy when they choose. Those particular enemies fight to restrict the people to a tyrannical scheme of oppression and poverty. It's not about Islam vs Christianity, or even socialism vs capitalism. It's about freedom - freedom to choose the path for you and your family.
Of course, that's not the geopolitical justification - but for the man in the arena, our actions are based upon where we are and who we are, not upon a government's reasons for sending us. We fight so that we don't have to fight anymore. At the individual level, of course, it's about fighting for the man next to us, whose life depends upon our skill and courage. We fight for good reasons, good purposes, and with good intentions about what it will produce.
But this isn't a holy war. The men I served with, as much as I love them, are an unholy lot. If you've read my blog before, throughout the war posts, it did seem like the people around me were protected by supernatural forces. But, as Self points out, the war doesn't end when the bullets stop flying. The real war, of evil against the people made in the image of God, continues as depression, hopelessness, worthlessness, and despair attack the very men who served with me. Too many survived a daily existence of life and death, full of courage and endurance - only to succumb to the isolation and emptiness of our wealthy, privileged society. As a rule, it wasn't "PTSD" that got them. It was the aching absence of hope.
I live for the purpose of bringing hope to the hopeless, life to the dying, healing to the wounded, and strength to the faltering. Some of my war writing has been shockingly popular - over 5000 people have read my initial post, "I Miss War". As I continue to write, mostly NOT about physical war, my prayer is for those I already know, and those I don't know. I pray they can find the hope, healing, and strength that doesn't lie at the business end of a gun; but, instead, lies at the foot of an execution site. I pray they continue to walk with me as I talk about something that they may have heard about, but likely don't truly understand: the kingdom of God which has come in the person of the Son.