In 1978 I was a supply technician attached to the UNEF II unarmed force operating out of Ismailia, Egypt. During that tour I had only one occasion to carry a weapon and it was during guard duty at the POL point. Guards had initially been armed with a pick axe handle to scare away the wild dogs but as more people attempted to steal the POL, weapons were issued. The weapon was a fully automatic sterling 9mm SMG and we were given three rounds. The SMG is accurate at close range but a slight touch of the trigger would see those three rounds gone before one could even begin to aim.
I drew the week duty just prior to rotating home and my partner was a signals reserve private with even less experience than me. We were a little tense starting the duty because, the previously week Norwegian military police has brought their dogs out to the compound and caught a half dozen armed men trying to take fuel. Each night my partner and I talked “what if” scenarios and discussed our response to an intruder. We had agreed that I, the corporal, would take all six rounds while the private would contact the guard house on the radio. On our third night we heard a noise outside our compound. We peeked out of our tent and could see the silhouette of a figure hiding behind a small hill with what appeared to be a rifle. I took my partner’s three rounds, loaded all six into my SMG and sprinted to the sandbag wall at the front gate. After a few minutes of no movement I called out the challenge to the figure. I indicated I was going to fire and suddenly the figure stood up, laughed and walked towards me. As he got closer I could see it was a slightly inebriated Canadian solder who later explained he was playing a practical joke on us.
It was no consolation to know that the practical joker was put in the guard house jail. My partner and I were frazzled and knew we were unprepared to face any real danger that night. Neither of us had handled a weapon since basic training and the choice of weapon and ammo was not suited for the task at hand. The threat to us was slight but we had not really taken it that serious. We realized that if it had been a true adversarial situation we could have been in trouble.
Peter warned followers that Satan prowls looking to devour those unprepared. Paul tells us in Ephesians 6 that we can be ready and that we should put on God’s armour to face the enemy. We may never see an attack coming or realize how powerful the foe is until it is too late. We must start our preparation now. 2014 was a rough year for the Christian church as it was persecuted in every corner of the planet; sometimes in face to face battles but most often covertly. Although many militaries have Christian fellowships there has been significant pressure for military believers to keep their beliefs to themselves. Satan is prowling within our forces and our communities and we have to be sufficiently prepared to take up arms. Take some time to ask God to stand with you today and then follow Paul’s guidance. Put on the various pieces of spiritual armour needed to go out into the world and then go with God knowing that you have already won. Make 2015 the year you overcome the enemy who has been sneaking up on you and your family.
UNEF II – United Nation Emergency Force set up to monitor the ceasefire between Israel and Egypt
SMG – sub machine gun
POL – Petroleum Oils and lubricants