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Friday, August 16, 2013

Mercy in the Midst

Chaplain (Ret) Edward F. Lundwall, Jr.

Jesus often spoke about how that a little good done in faith brings about wonderful things. Although a soldier might have small amount of faith, the Holy Spirit can use it to perform a Christ-like act of mercy. In the two stories below, it resulted in the reconciliation of enemies that came to love one another…a truly wonderful thing! May we not be satisfied with a little faith, but let it grow to illustrate the miracles that obedience to God’s direction can do.

During an air raid over Germany in World War II, a B-17 was damaged and fell behind the formation. This was normally an invitation for German fighters to attack the largely helpless bomber that had and in the future would drop more bombs on their homeland. The bomber pilot was desperately trying to return to England when one German ME 109 fighter approached. Instead of firing on the bomber, the German pilot felt compelled to be merciful, and instead of firing, he escorted the B-17 to the English Channel where the crew could safely get to their home base. Since the Germans had pieced together and used downed bombers, observers just thought the ME was just escorting one that belonged to the Nazi military. Somehow, both pilots survived the war and found each other, cultivating a friendship for many years after the war.

During the American Civil War, Joshua Chamberlain, a theological professor who felt led to join the Federal Army to save the Union, was given the command of a regiment from Maine. He became notably successful in defending the Federal Army's flank at the great and decisive Battle at Gettysburg for which he was given the Congressional Metal of Honor. His unit was involved in many successive battles and was the blocking force that compelled General Robert E. Lee to surrender at the Appomattox Courthouse even though Chamberlain had been wounded six times.

After the war, a Confederate sniper came to him relating that in one of those battles, he had Chamberlain square in his sights and was about to shoot, when an overwhelming compulsion came over him NOT to shoot and kill Chamberlain. God spoke to him to have enough faith to NOT pull the trigger. This act of mercy done in faith produced rejoicing and friendship.

Each of these Civil War and World War II stories, displays God’s ability to give the impulse to be merciful in the midst of even savage fighting. If you are a veteran or an active troop, who has experienced God’s prompting for mercy in the midst of battle, please share it in the comment box below.

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