He told them all to get out their Bibles. He asked them if they believed every word in that book. They said that they did, and he knew he had them in a gentle sort of trap. He had them turn to the Book of Isaiah, Chapter 54: Verse 17. “No weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the LORD.
To emphasize the point he said, “Each of you just said you believed every word in the Bible and here it is that no weapon forged against you will prevail! NO WEAPON! Do you get it? Nothing of evil will defeat you!” He then gathered the men together for a group prayer, arms locked, shoulder to shoulder, forming a circle, with all heads bowed. “We are praying for the courage to overcome evil with good and we will know that God is with us – and if God is with us, whom or what shall we fear?” From that point on they prayed before and after each mission and literally “no weapon formed against them” prevailed. They went on mission after mission, right into the heart of darkness, without injury, casualty, or fatality.
As time went on, Sergeant Smith’s convoy squad began to develop a reputation as being the safest in the unit and one day they were tasked with the mission of going to the Green Zone to pick up a General and escort him back to the FOB. As usual, the squad went through their normal preparations and before leaving circled up for prayer. After they went “outside the wire” and got on their way to their rendezvous point there were massive explosions just to the left and to the right of their convoy, but none slowed them down.
After reaching the meeting place to pick up the General, the squad did a quick personnel and equipment check and then circled up for prayer. When the General showed up, he told Sergeant Smith he had heard about him and how his men prayed before each mission and they had received zero casualties. Sergeant Smith said, “Yes, sir – that’s how we do business here. As a matter of fact, we just did our prayer for your ride today.” The General, rather sheepishly, asked if they wouldn’t mind doing it again, just for him. “No problem, Sir.” Sergeant Smith replied. And they all prayed again – arms locked, shoulder to shoulder, all ranks represented, praying together that “no weapon formed against them would prosper.”
The convoy from the Green Zone to the FOB was like none other. This time there were literally roadside explosions right in front of them, behind them, and to their left and right. Upon arrival at the FOB everyone was shaken, but uninjured. The convoy squad’s success continued throughout their entire deployment covering almost 100 missions, sustaining zero injuries, zero casualties, and zero fatalities – not even so much as a band-aid was needed! All members of Sergeant Smith’s squad were awarded the Bronze Star Medal for heroic achievement in a combat zone, and by the same General they escorted that one particular day from the Green Zone.
I think the kind of faith that Sergeant Smith instilled into his soldiers is the same kind of faith that God wants us all to have, literally placing our faith way out in front of us and relying only on Him. I sincerely doubt we will have any roadside bombs or sniper fire in downtown Navasota anytime soon, but I also know that weapons do not always come in the shape of rifles and bombs. Sometimes weapons formed against us can be doubt, inequality and despair. None of these come from God and none of these will eventually win. In our daily battles, faith beats doubt, and love beats inequality, and hope beats despair. Stay faithful, my friends.
Alan Shoalmire is a resident in Grimes County and the owner of Grill Sergeant and submits a column to the Navasota Examiner every other week.