We received a letter from our dear son on Parris Island. I am still amazed at how much joy and excitement can rise up in a body just from seeing a small envelope with a military return address waiting there in the mailbox.
Justin mentioned that they had trained with the Pugil sticks and he had taken a decent buttstroke to the side of the head. His comment? "Still Feels Good!" :-) (Mom says, Ouch)
"A pugil stick is a heavily padded training weapon used by military personnel for bayonet training since the 1930s or 1940s. Similar to a quarterstaff or Japanese bo, the pugil stick may be marked at one end to indicate which portion represents the bayonet proper and which the butt of the rifle. Pugil bouts are usually conducted with hard contact while wearing protective gear such as groin protectors, American football helmets, hockey gloves and chest protectors or shinguards such as worn by baseball catchers. Other pugil sticks may be built with integrated handguards. Because of the potential for injury, military procedures for pugil bouts are often quite detailed. The word "pugil stick" is a neologism from the Latin noun pugnus (fist), the source for other English words such as "pugilist" (boxer) and "pugnacious" (eager to fight).
I know that these young men are in intense training for serious, life or death situations. What they learn and go through in each phase of their combat exercises may save their life or the life of a fellow soldier. It is vital that they "Get It!" The pain and bodily punishment they experience in boot camp is just one more stage of learning and retaining in preparation for the real stuff. That is the day where they must "put out" and remain standing at the end.
I noted that they are well protected with body gear in these exercises. The purpose is to learn, but with NO injuries. They are protecting their bodies while they train and prepare their minds to react correctly.
You know where I'm going with this. We have an enemy. He is well-trained. He is constantly on the move to bring us down. His name is Satan. It is within his power to do battle with us. So many times he knows right where to strike to knock us down! We can be standing, and fighting, and all of a sudden we are blind-sided. We have taken a buttstrike to the head and we are reeling. Sometimes these hits can literally take us off our spiritual feet. We find ourselves lying dazed, wondering what has happened, and how in the world we ever allowed ourselves to get in such a state.
We, as soldiers of our Lord Jesus Christ, are going through training every single day. Our instructions come from God's very mouth. You can find them all in His Word. The Holy Spirit is commissioned by God the Father Himself to speak and train and prepare us.
I'm sure it is with an intensity and level of love and desire to see us "battle-ready" that you and I are not capable of comprehending. God wants us ready for those "buttstrikes" that Satan is going to thrust our way. He wants us wearing our gear, our armor, (Ephesians 6:10-18) that having done all of this, we are "able to stand" when the conflict is over.
This I know. When Satan comes my way, and he will, I want to be ready. I don't want to be caught off-guard. I KNOW that if ...I have met with my instructor and listened to His words, if... I have prepared with my trainer and applied those words to my heart each and every morning....afresh...I am going to be ready. Fully trained, yet fully dependent on the ONE who is standing with me, reinforcing in my heart and mind all that I have in HIM.
Remember the quote I borrowed from John Piper in an earlier post? "Entering the day without a serious meeting with God, over his Word and in prayer, is like entering the battle without tending to your weapons." There is no soldier who would walk into a battle without his weapons. If you have ever read the Rifle Creed, then you know a Marine's best friend is his rifle, it becomes his "brother". It is always by his side.
You and I know in our hearts that God's Word for instruction, and our Faith applied for battle readiness is what we must attend to. Let your guard down one time, be caught without your weapons, and you experience the results. It hurts, it is wounding. We do not want to experience the pain of unpreparation again!
The next time you are standing in a face-off with your enemy, that roaring lion, who is out to devour you, be READY! Know that you have entered that day and had your serious meeting with your Instructor, that you have tended your weapons, that you are Battle-Ready.
The Lord is our preparation and our strength. There is nothing so glorious and praiseworthy as a moment of victory against our enemy and a celebration offered up to the one who trained us, and stood with us. This is the stuff Christian lives are to be made of. The next time you take a "buttstrike", be prepared. Even with some pain, you might have to say like Justin, "Still feels good," but you will be standing. And that is a win. :-)
If God be for us, who can be against us?!