My husband is an Army Veteran and was in boot camp when 9/11 took place. There are many things that he learned in the military that has helped him in his walk with God. Things like discipline and respecting authority. There are many things that he doesn't really talk about, but one thing he often talks about that I think we could all learn from is the concept of having a battle buddy.
If it's not self explanatory, a battle buddy is someone who has your back and looks out for you when you go into battle.
A few years after we got married, we had to go to Amarillo to the Veterans facility there to do some testing and paperwork etc. While we were there, we had the pleasure of meeting up with a former battle buddy of Luis's. He told me a story of how my husband saved his life. There was a night raid on the base they were on and his buddy got up and had opened the door and was about to head out into the fire when Luis grabbed him and pulled him back just as a bullet skimmed passed his head.
I often look back at hearing this story and think about it in a spiritual sense. I want to have friends who will do this for me. Not just physically but spiritually. People who will see me walking into danger and pull me back. People who will tell me when I'm off track and who will speak life into situations that seem dead. This can be hard to find. Even people with good intentions can some times miss the mark.
I am a big fan of the author Lynn Austin and recently read her book Pilgrimage. She shares this experience of feeling like God had called her to write about Israel and had planned a trip to go there to study the land and culture. To glean from the steps that Jesus took. As the time drew closer to go, her family got sick. Her husband and her children all came down with a bug right before it was time to leave. She felt bad as a wife and a mother for thinking of leaving them in this time of need and had considered not going. She had spoken to a few friends and was told by some of them that this must be sign from God that she wasn't supposed to go. This was really challenging for her cause she had prayed hard on this trip before she decided to go and she genuinely felt that God had told her to go. Finally her husband pushed her and reminded her that this was indeed God's direction. The book is a wonderful testimony to her obedience, but also what can be done when someone encourages you or discourages you to walk in that obedience.
While I'm sure her friends meant well, we need buddies who will see what no one else sees. We need people like Joshua and Caleb in our lives. People who will look at the giants in our lives and know that God has given us the victory.
Moses had sent Joshua and Caleb with men representing each of the tribes (Numbers 13:2). They were asked to seek out the land and identify if the people there were strong or weak and if there were many of them (Numbers 13: 18-20)? Moses wanted to know was the mission worth the cost? Could they defeat those who existed there or would they be defeated? Was the land good for the taking?
Have you ever thought about a task in that way? Thought about the outcome and thought is the journey to get to that outcome worth it?
When I worked retail, I had a season where I had worked for people who weren't great leaders and in one particular company that I worked for they had constant turnover at the managerial level. We had 5 managers in 4 years. During that time, I learned to identify character traits that would tell me if someone was gonna last or not. Whether they had the same morals as the company did, or if they had the same work ethic etc. During that time, I would find myself frustrated and think, I can outlast this person. That may seem harsh or negative, but sometimes when we're in bad situations we have to know our pain threshold to some degree.
Similarly we have to know what we're willing to work towards. There have been many times in life when I've wanted something, but my discipline didn't line up with the desire. For me self awareness is a BIG deal. Knowing what I can handle and what I'm willing to do to get there but also having accountability along the way.
That's where this concept of battle buddies can be expanded upon. A battle buddy in the military is someone who trains along side you for the mission. They often are on the same journey with you. But... choosing a battle buddy wisely is imperative. Because not everyone who's on your mission will have the same attitude towards the mission or have the same vision for how to accomplish it.
When the spies returned from their mission they told him, “We went into the land where you sent us; and it certainly does flow with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. Nevertheless, the people who live in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large; and moreover, we saw the descendants of Anak there (vs 27-28 .... continued in verse 31...) “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are too strong for us.” So they gave out to the sons of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone, in spying it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants; and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great size.
They discouraged the mission to go any further. They were fearful and closed minded. They could not imagine a victory and clearly did not have the will or discipline to accomplish it.
But Caleb had a different vision, he said, “We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we will surely overcome it." ( verse 30.Continued in Numbers 14:7-9)
“The land which we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord is pleased with us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us—a land which flows with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against the Lord; and do not fear the people of the land, for they will be our prey. Their protection has been removed from them, and the Lord is with us; do not fear them."
Following this message from Caleb, the other spies demanded that they be stoned to death.
Wowsa. Not only did these people have a different view of what they were up against, but they also condemned them from doing so.
I think about the mom who chooses to work instead of stay home with her kids. Or the one who chose to use formula instead of breastfeed. The condemnation for a varied choice in parenting.
I think about my friends who chose to homeschool their kids and have been ridiculed about their ability to offer the best resources and teaching skillset.
I think about my husband starting his business and ME being the critic of how he would be diligent with his time management.
There are missions we set upon every day and we need giant slayers, we need vision seekers, we need life speakers and prayer warriors to stand along side us and say YES YOU CAN!
The Lord declared that Caleb had a different spirit and had followed Him fully (14:24). Can we say the same about ourselves and those we surround ourselves with?
People to pray for us, to hold us accountable and push us to follow through. We need battle buddies to have our backs when we feel defeated or surrounded. To have our backs when we don't even see the enemy attacks shooting straight at our heads.
And more than this, we need to BE battle buddies. We need to pray and edify those that the Lord has placed in our lives. We need to be the Caleb to the Joshua.
I pray that as you read this you can identify those people in your life who are battle buddies like Caleb and those who aren't. If you don't have those people in your life, please visit the contact section on my home page and send me a message. I would love to be that for you if you need that person.
May the Lord bless you in your comings and your goings.