March 11, 2019
By Brent Mulder
Psalm 18 (NIV):
1 I love you, Lord, my strength.
2 The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
3 I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
and I have been saved from my enemies.
Read the full psalm.
This psalm is set in the context of war. “War is hell,” my late grandfather and World War II veteran once told me. He never said much more than this. War profoundly changes people. How can it not? The ones who survive certainly have reason to sing praises as David did. Many of their stories are remarkable and a bit unbelievable. I have been in war and heard these testimonies myself, first-hand. The most memorable one was from a soldier who had been shot in the head. It was not as bad as it sounds, though. The bullet hit his helmet and ricocheted off. He was obviously in shock, but he did not have any injuries, not even a concussion or traumatic brain injury. This soldier was so stunned and thankful that he could hardly speak. He just sat there, on the hospital bed, looking down at his helmet. I eagerly watched as he stared and felt the little indent and scratch mark. As a chaplain, it was good to know that another warfighter was safe that day.
As I wrapped up my shift, I rejoiced and said a prayer of thanksgiving for a God who saves people from their enemies. God still saves people from fatal bullets and charging insurgents. God still saves soldiers surrounded in battle with no way out. But God also saves people from less dramatic enemies outside the context of battlefield warfare, from enemies that are a bit more relatable, like divorce, financial ruin, a co-worker who seems to be “out to get them,” depression, addiction, and failure. Our God is a God of salvation.
Maybe we cannot relate to the war stories of victory, but this Lenten season, we can all draw near to the God who saved us—and is still saving us—from our enemies.