I recently finished reading a very insightful book called “A Table in the Presence” written by Lt. Carey Cash, who was a chaplain in the marines during the Iraq war. In this captivating narrative, he describes his experiences as a chaplain, and what he believes to be the working of God in the circumstances and people who he was with. Many of these are nothing short of undeniably miraculous, as there is no natural explanation for such events as disappearing bridges, redirected rockets, and fatal explosions which left our soldiers completely uninjured. God’s protecting hand was on our forces during the Iraq war in ways which perhaps even those who witnessed it first-hand cannot fully comprehend. Cash explains some of the grievous actions of Saddam, such as imprisoning children who did not comply with his regime, leaving no doubt that our cause in Iraq was a just cause. Why should we be surprised when God fights for us on behalf of what is right?
The corruption of Saddam’s regime was made clear by one story Lt. Cash tells about some Iraqi refugees that US forces rescued and cared for. These people could not understand why we would want to help them. Even after reassuring them in their own language that “peace be upon you” and caring for their physical needs, they still were skeptical of our good intentions even to the point of hysteria. A woman, witnessing her husband being led by the hand by a U.S. Marine shouldering his weapon, started weeping uncontrollably; apparently, the sight looked too reminiscent of one of Saddam’s executions, and she thought her husband was going to be shot down in cold blood. The only military forces known to them were the forces of evil.
One thing I was convicted and motivated about was prayer. The Iraq war was backed by thousands if not millions of prayer warriors back home, and Cash sees a direct relationship between this prayer and the acts of God on our behalf. God loves to answer sincere and humble prayers, because He gets the glory. War is the time when men often see most clearly their own helplessness. It only takes one bullet to send you into eternity, and when just overhead the air is raked with supersonic steel, one cannot but cry out to God for help and mercy. And God does help! Not only did God receive glory, but many came to know Christ when face to face with not only the prospect of eternity, but the goodness and power of God. May we all learn from first-hand experience that the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.