A Table in the Presence
Lt. Carey Cash, a U.S. Navy Chaplain, was with the First Battalion, Fifth Marine Regiment, the first unit to cross into Iraq at the start of the Iraq War in 2003. He shares stories in his book, A Table in the Presence (W Publishing Group, 2004). Excerpts of the book follow.
“God ordains and chooses the government and the military for a high and noble purpose,” Staff Sergeant Brian Jackway told me after the war. “And the man who chooses to enter its ranks, whether he knows it or not, is serving more than his country; he’s serving God. I knew even before entering the war that God had a plan and purpose for my life, and that if His plan was for me to live and continue to serve my country, nothing—no power, no enemy, nothing at all—could stop it.” (p. 209)
The Scriptures call God the “Lord of Hosts,” which is a name reserved for a captain or general who commands an army. He is also called “Mighty Fortress,” “Strong Tower,” “Shield,” and “Defender.” And despite what so many well-meaning people say today, His place is not only in the quiet corners of the human heart, divorced from the raw reality of a blood-and-guts world. God’s presence descends into the valley of the shadow of death, is revealed in the sweep of world events, and has for centuries been mightily demonstrated where courageous warriors, inspired by a worthy cause, have stepped foot on the field of battle and marched against the forces of evil and tyranny. (p. 215)
The truth is, whether we are infantrymen in Baghdad or civilians safe in our own hometowns, all of us need to claim Christ’s victory as our own, because in the end, we all face the same enemies. Fear, worry, doubt, discouragement, despair, temptation, the rising power of unbelief—these things attack us constantly. And they are often just as destructive, just as fierce, and just as unrelenting as evil men lurking in the streets of Baghdad. But if God can deliver an isolated, cut-off battalion of U.S. Marines surrounded by enemies in the belly of the beast, can He not deliver us from the enemies that assail us in our daily lives? (p. 237)