Friday, July 5, 2019

Home is Over There

   On July 3rd 1863, General Robert E. Lee ordered an attack on the Union Army defending a shallow crest just outside of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.  At 3 o'clock in the afternoon, Confederate General George Picket ordered his 12,500 Confederate soldiers to march bravely toward the waiting Union lines.  The battle took place on open ground with the rebels needing to march almost a mile under intense musket and artillery fire.  When the smoke cleared, the rebels had suffered nearly 50% casualties and were forced to retreat in defeat.

Many historians believe that this defeat was not only a lost battle for the Confederacy, but marked the ultimate loss of the War.  The Rebel Army would never again invade the North.  There was an interesting moment recorded during this battle referred to as Picket's Charge.  As shells were bursting, as many as ten men at a time fell like many stalks of wheat.  A Confederate Lieutenant cried out to his troops, pointing to the hilltop, "Home boys home, remember home is over beyond those hills."  To the Southern troops his words made perfect sense.  If we win this battle, we can surely win the war, and then go back to our real home.

That same sentiment has been shouted by the soldiers of the Living God for millennia.  The Church also marches daily on spiritual battlefields, this earthly ground is an open target for the enemy.  It, at times, seems like we march forward in battle only to experience disappointment, resistance, and hardships.  Each day we continue to suffer heartbreaking spiritual casualties in our Christian service.  Paul expressed it like this. "For Your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." Romans 8:36

In spite of the danger, Paul marched on, pressing toward the mark.   Paul understood, just as that Confederate Lieutenant understood, "home is over those hills."  We fight on for the Lord, and His Kingdom, knowing that our real home is not here.  The battles we endure in this life move us closer to our ultimate home, our ultimate rest, and ultimate victory.  "We look forward to a city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God....Admitting we are aliens and strangers on earth..."We long for a better country, a heavenly one." Hebrews 11:10,13,16
    When you and I next face the heat of battle, and the enemy's spiritual guns are blazing, listen for these words above the battle's tumult, "On boys on, home is just over those hills."

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