This week at work I was doing some extra research on the Stonewall Brigade. While reading through John O. Casler’s book of reminiscences, Four Years In The Stonewall Brigade, I came across an account from the Battle of Chancellorsville in May 1863. The image of the soldiers in the hidden hole and their experience echoed with parts of my life and prompted some spiritual and scriptural reflections. I’ve decided to open up and share those with you and I hope you’ll find it encouraging in this challenging time.
Let’s start with the historical scene…
Charlie Cross, Sam Nunnelly, Jake Fogle and myself were together when the shelling commenced. We stepped to one side and happened to find a sink, or low place, where a tree had blown down some time in the past, and laid down in it. We filled it up even with the ground, and it seemed as if the shells did not miss us more than six inches. Some would strike in front of us, scattering the dirt all over us. I believe if I had stuck my head up a few inches I would have been killed.
We could hear some one scream out every second in the agonies of death. Jake Fogle kept praying all the time. Every time a shell would pass directly over us Jake would say: “Lord, save us this time!” “Lord, save us this time!” Sam Nunnelly, a wild, reckless fellow, would laugh at him and say: “Pray on Jake! Pray on Jake!” and the two kept that up as long as the shelling lasted. Cross and I tried to get Sam to hush, but it was no use.
To be honest, many of these days I feel like Jake. “Lord, save me this time!” There have been days that felt like figurative artillery shells kept coming in, and I didn’t know what to do except sit still, think, pray, and starting forging a way forward even as the pieces kept falling.
I wish and sincerely pray that my faith will be strengthened in this season of difficulties. I wish my faith was more of the confident, stand-in-the-face-of-danger-like-a-stonewall type. But so often I feel like I’m in the hole, just praying for grace and safety for that single moment.
Here’s what I’ve been thinking so far this week. Sometimes, we need grace and strength for the moment, just to make it through another “this time.” I keep thinking of God’s words given in Scripture: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) And the historical picture of the soldier praying loudly as each shell flew their way comes to mind. We ask for grace to meet every danger.
Are you familiar with the Biblical account of Peter trying to walk to Jesus on the water? The Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 14:30-31 says:
But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
We may feel like we go through each hour, crying out, “Lord, save us!” as the figurative shells fly our way. But try to remember, don’t doubt—there is a wonderful promise that God gives grace when we need it and to those who seek and call out to Him.
Just wanted to send along some encouragement that’s been on my mind and heart this week…