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“Corpsman Up” Print E-mail
Written by Ray Fairman   
That call goes out all too often in combat environments. And when it does, generally everyone but the victim knows what it means. That is because "Wounded Warriors" don't always recognize their own needs. This is just as true in spiritual combat as it is in the world of physical combat. How do I know the truth of this matter? Raad on and I'll tell you.

Gunny Ermy and The Gunner
R Lee Ermy and Chaplain Fairman
  Well to begin with, During my Marine corps career I served in two combat theaters on good old "Terra Firma, "RVN and Desert Shield and Desert Storm;  never receiving that ominous award known as the Purple Heart. I have, however,been there right beside others who were not as blessed as I. And when they received their wounds some of them never even realized they needed medical assistance, they just keep right on dishing it out or taking care of their own troop responsibilities with no concern for their own welfare. That is always inspirational and quite heroic, but often it is also quite tragic. Primarily because these heroes don't always survive and I wonder just how much they might have been able to contribute to the future if they had only taken the time to receive the medical attention they so desperately needed.

On the other hand I don't have a chest big enough to hold all the "Purple Hearts' I would rate for the wounds I received during my ‘Spiritual Combat" years. There have been times, even for me, that I wondered where God was. I was so low down in the dumps and disillusioned, that I felt that the gap between God and I might never be bridged. When you feel so alone, that is just the time that Satan is sure to be around. You see the enemy loves to strike a "wounded warriors". (Listen closely to the words of an old Andre Crouch song some time. It is called "Through It All")

Somehow I pulled myself through these times, or at least at the time I assumed I was responsible for getting myself through these tough times. The next day would arrive and I would get up and start through my daily routine.  I started my recovery by just going through the motions. I knew my duties and was well trained so I tried to conceal my wounded status. My philosophy was, "No sense attracting attention or seeking pity, what good would that do? Just "suck it up and drive on" as the saying goes. Who really wants an honest answer to the question "How are you doing"? I just hoped that tomorrow would bring about the miracle necessary to make me well.

On the outside I was reacting like I had been taught as a child. Men don't cry or ever let their feelings show. Pardon me for a moment but do you know the shortest verse in the Bible? I believe it goes something like this, "Jesus Wept." Now if God himself can let his emotions show and He did on several occasions as it is documented. Then I guess I can too. (Medically I would advise you to consider the following: If you are not crying on the outside, your organs are weeping on the inside.)

On the inside I was hurting, I was a wounded warrior, a casualty in the battle of good versus evil.

Oh how I wish there was a spiritual corpsman to respond to the call "Corpsman up". But I was too proud to make that call and no one around me was alert enough to see that I need that call sounded. (How aware are you of the condition of your fellow Christian Soldiers?)

When I recovered (with the help and compassion of God) from each of these life wounds, I became a wiser and stronger man. I also became more acutely aware of the number of ‘Walking Wounded" that surrounded me. I eventually came to a point in my life where I decided to become a "Spiritual Corpsman" Myself. Over the course of this year (or however long it takes the Holy Spirit to get me to complete the job) I am going to work on providing some of that needed medical (Spiritual) assistance and aid to some of you wounded warriors out there. I can only pray that is not too late for some of you.

Physical wounds can make or break you, especially when the fighting gets tough. It has been said by many a Marine that "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger". A Corpsman I know once told me it is not how bad the wound looks or how deep it is that makes it fatal, it is your refusal to step forward and seek that timely medical help that may put you in a body bag. What makes you think that Spiritual Warfare is any different. Now think about this. On which battlefield are you most likely to end up today?

Life is always going to be a battle while we reside on earth. And in battle a warrior must expect to eventually incur some degree of wound. Severe injuries may be common to courageous combatants while others will encounter only the occasional bruise, cut or scratch. One thing is certain though when that wound occurs, it will be accompanied by some degree of pain. The key to early recovery is to quickly recognize the injury and not to linger in pain too long. The longer you avoid dealing with your wound, no matter what the reason you apply, the more it will impact your life.

There are a great many ways of dealing with or ignoring your wounds, both physical and spiritual. The stages of dealing with critical incidents such as grief, death or a terminal illness or any defined life changing event, are also applicable to spiritual wounds. Society sometimes refers to these as coping mechanisms, but I think many of the worlds answers often intensify or prolong the pain, especially when dealing with the unobservable spiritual wound.

When King David's child lay near death, David maintained an attitude of mourning, disheveled clothing and personal hygiene and in general appeared miserable. He maintained this attitude, which I must add included prayer, until his child died. Then he went straightaway to clean up; to the House Of God to worship; and then to get something to eat. In other words he shocked his household by heading straight into recovery. David put it this way. While his child was alive there was a chance that God might change the circumstances, when the child had died, God had other things for David to do and David was not going to hang around wounded and let these wounds incapacitate him.

Folks, we, especially men and those of us in "the brotherhood of arms", frequently react to our injuries by denying that we are wounded at all. Many times we are the only one around who wants to deny the fact. Those around us are often acutely aware of the severity of our wound and some of them (our true friends) want to help, which is never possible until we acknowledge the wound ourselves.

When the wound gets obvious enough, we still may not talk about it or admit we could use some help because we think it will isolate us from our companions or bring shame on us because we feel our stature in the eyes of others will be diminished by what has happened to us. These unseen wounds begin to isolate us and start to interfere with our perception of our own identity. Therefore we think they will also diminish us in the eyes of others and reduce the things we want to accomplish.

We routinely want to blame someone else for our wounded condition and God, who is never far from our side; in as much pain for our circumstances as we are, seems like a great scapegoat. "God, why did you do this to me" or "God, why did you let this happen to me", seem to resound like bugle calls in the heat of battle.  We often give God too much credit for the circumstances that caused our wounds. After all it was generally our own choices that resulted in the circumstances that produced our injury. So don't be so quick to play the orphan or abandonment card; you know what I mean. The "If God really cared about me He would not have let this happen card". I have news for you, If God did not really care for you His son Jesus Christ would never have gone to the cross for you on Calvary. God never turns His back on us, His adopted children; it is usually us who turn our backs on Him to keep Him from seeing what we are doing to our lives. Futilely I might also add.

When we do finally admit we are wounded, we still tend to refuse to seek help, because that means admitting to others we need help. God already knows we need help and a good deal of the time those who really care and want to help us also already know as well. So whom are you fooling when you tell yourself you can take care of things yourself? If you are smart enough to fix things, why were you dumb enough to let the injury occur? I have heard it said many times (I am surrounded in my family by nurses and a doctor) the physician who takes himself on as a patient has a fool for a doctor. Don't let PRIDE (Professional Responsibilities In Destructive Environments) kill you! Reach out to others. This society we live in uses way too many singular pronouns (I, My, Me, Mine and You) and way too few plural pronouns (Us, We and Our). Never let yourself give up and nerer fell you must act alone. I will never give up on society and I will not let anyone I can influence give up on anyone else. Where there is breath there is hope. Hopelessness is only a state of mind not a reality doctrine to the Christian Warrior.

Letting the world's methods of dealing with our spiritual wounds control us allows them to wield more power over us than they should. Yes all wounds are painful and will surely get our attention eventually, but they all do not have to be fatal. I know you might find this hard to swallow, but you can turn these minor wounds into life strengthening opportunities. If you believe in an all powerful God, The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God who said in Jeremiah 29:11 "I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. Plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.The God who said in John 10:10 "I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly". Again in John 3:17 He tells us "God sent not His son in to the world to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved." 

Then never forget that you are neveralone in battle (for the battle belongs to the Lord), neither are you alone when you are wounded, while you may be a member of the "Battered and Bruised Battalion" and at one time or another every Christian Soldier spends a tour of duty in that unit, you are still in the Army of God. We just don't advertise our affiliation with the "B & B" Battalion after we transfer, we want to suffer in silence. Well friend, it may be time we broadcast the lessons we learned during that tour of duty so others can learn from our experience.

God never promised us that we would traverse the battlefield of life wound free. He did, however, promise to be right there beside us and to equip us with the full Armor of God to help us in the fray. We must, therefore, embrace that armor and rejoin our battered band of brothers in the fight for what is right and what is good, to do any less is to capitulate and surrender to the forces of evil.

I did not become a Marine to surrender; I did not become a cop to compromise on my ethical principles; I did not become a chaplain to avoid the battle and I did not join the Army of God to avoid battle. Quite the opposite, I joined God's Army and accepted all of His assignments because of a sense of duty and a love for Him and my fellow man.


Until next time 10-7, 10-42




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