Reaching Out

My Brother Max, Air Force Pilot

My brother Max was an Air Force pilot who flew RF-4C reconnaissance fighter jets during the Vietnam War, a war to protect South Vietnam from communist North Vietnam. He would take off from a base in Udorn, Thailand, then fly over enemy territory, including Hanoi, with his plane equipped with high-resolution cameras to capture images of critical areas of strategic military importance. He was stationed over there for five and half months and flew 150 missions.

The RF-4C could fly 1,922 miles/hour (2.5 Mach), but the communist North Vietnam government could detect them coming by radar. They knew that these flights were critical to the war effort, so they did everything they could to destroy these flights by anti-aircraft fire, shooting surface-to-air missiles (SAMs), and attacking with Mig fighter jets. During the 5½ months he was stationed in Thailand, HALF of the 24 planes and their pilots in his squadron were lost.

This was WAR, and he was well aware that any mission could be his last, his career and life over – forever. Let us express our deep appreciation to Max and all men and women who have and continue to risk and even give their lives to protect our nation from harm.

When he was flying, if the red light on his radar detector lit up, it meant that a surface-to-air missile, which flies much faster than the plane, was fired, his plane was the target, and he had to evade it or perish. He described surface to air missiles as white telephone poles coming up at you at high speed. (How would you like to have a white telephone pole missile coming at you at high speed?)

There is a parallel with our spiritual journey. The Word of God says we are at war, but it is a war against the culture and enticements of the world, the temptations of the flesh, and the snares of the devil. Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus describes how our greatest enemies are spiritual:
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:10-12

Paul then goes on to instruct us to put on the whole armor of God, which includes the belt of truth buckled around our waist, the breastplate of righteousness, our feet fitted with the readiness for action that comes from the peace of God, the shield of faith, (with which we can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one), the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.

Finally, we are to pray in the Spirit on all occasions with prayers and requests, being alert, always praying for our brothers and sisters in the Lord, that we may speak boldly the love and truth of Christ, without fear or concern.

Some parallels:

· We at war, a spiritual war. Those who do not realize this, or are sitting it out (like the lukewarm Laodiceans – see Revelation 3), are not fulfilling their mission on earth, and will be held accountable by God.

· We are called, equipped, and sent into battle – to battle for the souls of men and women who don’t know our Lord.

· We can expect to be attacked – by non-believers, by Satan and his minions, and sometimes even by Christians who hold non- Biblical beliefs.

· Unless we have our spiritual radar on so we can discern evil and the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit, we will not be successful, and can be shot down by the forces of evil.

· But we are not alone, and are supported by the true church – brothers and sisters in the Lord, and by our Lord – the sovereign, living God of the universe. He has our back, He is cheering for us, and He promises to be with us forever and ever. The safest place in the world is in the center of God’s will.

So let us spend time each day with our Commander in Chief Jesus Christ in His Word, put on our spiritual armor, and go forth into battle to reach the lost with the love and truth of Christ. For time is short, eternity is forever, and we are not guaranteed tomorrow.

To God be the glory