Facing Down the Darkness
by John Carey
It was a beautiful fall morning in September. As chaplain of the 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, I had just finished physical training for the day. I spoke for a few minutes with my executive officer then headed home to clean up and change into my regular duty uniform.
It was during the drive home that I heard the first radio report about a jet hitting one of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. You know the rest of the story of that tragic day more than 10 years ago. So much has changed since then, and tragedies, terrorists, and the Global War on Terror have become part of everyday conversation.
After the despicable attacks that day, we also heard many stories about great and selfless acts of sacrifice, from firefighters and policemen in New York City to the military personnel and civilians who joined forces to care for the wounded after the attack on the Pentagon.
I will always be haunted by the story of Todd Beamer saying, “Let’s Roll,” to his fellow passengers as they moved to thwart the murderous plans of terrorist hijackers on Flight 93. He and his fellow travelers lost their lives that day when the plane crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, but they kept the terrorists of Flight 93 from taking other American lives. While I had heard those memorable words many times before 9/11, it took the self-sacrifice of Todd Beamer and the other brave passengers of Flight 93 to burn that phrase into the American conscience forever.
As a preacher, I believe those same words are appropriate for Free Will Baptist chaplains, missionaries at home and around the world, pastors young and old—anyone who serves the Lord sacrificially, honoring God with a life of service for Him.
I can’t help but picture a young man or woman at one of our Free Will Baptist colleges, kneeling in prayer, offering to follow the Lord—going where He would have them go, telling others about the saving and transforming power and newfound life that comes only from Jesus Christ.
John 1:12 says, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” Jesus went on to tell all believers to follow the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20, dedicating their lives to His cause.
From kids to college students, to those who have been in ministry for years, God calls all of us to get busy and make disciples. I believe the Lord is tired of churches that sit in a perpetual muddle while the world stumbles on in darkness. The Great Commission tells us, in effect, “Let’s roll!” It calls us to step out in faith and sacrifice and share Jesus with a world that’s lost, dying, and going to Hell.
We will never return to the carefree days before 9/11. Today, the Armed Forces are more diligent and determined than ever to defend America against all her enemies. As an Army chaplain, I will continue to embrace the opportunity to shepherd soldiers going into harm’s way, fighting the dark forces that oppose freedom at home and around the world.
As Christians, we too must determine to follow the mandate of our Lord, facing down the dark forces opposing individuals and families today, reflecting His light, and pointing others to Christ. With this in mind, let me end this article with a very important question. What are you doing in response to His mandate?
About the Writer: CH (MAJ) John Carey is currently based out of Fort Meade, MD, and represents Free Will Baptists in the U. S. Army. He deployed to Afghanistan in February with the 1st Medical Brigade. Learn more about the ministry of Free Will Baptist chaplains at www.homemissions.net.