Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Who 'has your back?'

Today is Remembrance Sunday here in Britain, when we honour all those who sacrificed  their ‘tomorrows’ in the First World War, and onwards through the years of continuing conflict, so that we could have our ‘todays.’

As we stood with heads bowed for the long, silent minute of the Act of Remembrance, in church this morning, I reflected on the sacrifice that others had made so that I could live in freedom. I was reminded of the words of Jesus in John 15:13 as he spelled out the true meaning of love.

 “Greater love has no-one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” he said, knowing what lay ahead of him. Years later, on the other side of the Cross and resurrection, the apostle John remembered those words and commented “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay our lives for our brothers.”

I never cease to be amazed at the total commitment soldiers seem to have to one another. They have shared so much, that even when they are injured, they are often utterly determined to return to their regiment as soon as possible. The phrase ‘I’ve got your back’ means that they can step out into danger, confident that the man behind them is on the alert keeping watch, sheltering them from the enemy that they can’t see. As the Three Musketeers used to say ‘One for all and all for one!’

Who looks after your back? As Christian writers we’re definitely in a war zone. We need those who ‘understand where we’re coming from’ – and let’s face it so many of our Christian friends do not – and will pray for us and protect our backs. We need encouragement, a listening ear, and sometimes a hand to pull us up and get us back on the right path again. There’s no room for ego’s and personal kingdom building in God’s army. Satan loves it when we stumble and sometimes get wiped out altogether, because he fears the power the written word to change lives. 

When a soldier is hit by the enemy, the cry goes up ‘Man down.’ and immediately the whole focus is to get that soldier back on his feet and fit for battle.  I wrote this to honour those who have given their all, and to remind me that I have a responsibility, to watch out for my fellow writers.

“Man Down!” That’s what they shout Lord,
when one of those they call ‘comrades in arms’
sprawls wounded on the desert sand,
or, worst of all, lies dead.
And this man was so young, dear Lord,
just three days short of twenty one.
But now he’ll have no use for gift wrapped packages
so neatly stowed beneath his army bunk….

In ambush, snipers watched and waited
while he, and many like him,
searched for, and then disarmed
those lethal IED’s.
He made the sandy path a little safer
for those who came behind,
hoping that by his skill and courage,
he would be able to prevent
another agonising shout -‘Man Down’ ….

You know about self sacrifice, dear Lord.
For ‘Greater love’ you said while here on earth
 ‘has no one showed than this,
That one man lay his life down for his friends.’
And that is what you did.

No bombs or bullets took your life.
But knowing very well what lay ahead
and sweating blood, you chose
the whip, the thorns, the spittle and the taunts,
and for Your enemies,
as well as for Your friends,
You chose the nails.

And now Lord you have called each one of us,
to fight against the enemy of souls.
Not flesh and blood,
but rulers, powers and evil spiritual force
in heavenly realms.
Unseen, but prowling nonetheless
to weaken and destroy.

Today please help us so to stand,
arms linked
strong in Your power,
protected by Your blood
so that whatever strategem he may employ,
 the shout will not go up from us
“Man Down!”


  1. Thank you, Marion. I read your poem with tears in my eyes; my son-in-law is in Afghanistan far from my daughter and baby grandson. How I long for the day when wars shall cease.

    1. It's so hard to leave them in God's sure hand. That is part of a prayer from my new book 'It's Just You and me Lord' and truly that is how it is. Our hand in His and trusting ...one day at a time.

  2. Thank you for that beautiful poem, Marion. It moved me deeply.

    And yes, how we long for friends who really understand.

    1. We can all play our part - even an international group like this can stand shoulder to shoulder, even though we may never meet.Six short words - I hear you and I care - can make all the difference.

  3. Lovely, Marion. I've had the pleasure of observing Remembrance Sunday in England in years past and last year in Canada. observances are more subdued in the US and not so tied in with the church, which I think is unfortunate.

  4. Thank you, Marion, for your thoughtful and caring post. Here in Australia, Christian authors are definitely trying to support one another more and 'watch one another's backs'.

    Also re Remembrance Day, at our church here in Sydney, church had just finished and we were heading out to morning tea when someone announced a minute's silence for Remembrance Day. So we all stood quietly, from the youngest to the oldest, and then I heard people around me explaining what it was about to their children. So the sacrifice of those soldiers is not forgotten. God bless.

  5. Marion, thank you. Well said.

    LeAnne, My grandson spent three tours in Afghanistan, two of them as medic. He's in Japan, now, but I remember the years he was in the middle east. Will pray for your son and his family.