SURROUNDED BY THE ENEMY
I had the honor to meet Jeremiah Denton. He was a Navy Pilot shot down during the Vietnam War and became a POW in North Vietnam. He later served as U.S. Senator from the great state of Alabama. There is a book and movie about his life and experience there called “When Hell Was In Session.” I highly recommend reading the book or seeing the movie.
Sam Johnson was a pilot as well shot down and both men spent seven and a half years in the “Hanoi Hilton” famous for its brutal torture of prisoners. Most of the time they were tortured and kept in solitary confinement. They paraded Admiral Denton in front of the media and while being interviewed he was able to blink in Morse Code the word T-O-R-T-U-R-E. This led to the international community putting pressure on North Vietnam and their allies to make the conditions for prisoners improved. Before that though the only people they would see were their interrogators and guards. They were surrounded totally by the enemy.
Senator and Admiral Denton was a man of faith. I want to share a story as told by his son about his captivity when he was surrounded by the enemy.
“Despite their resolute defiance in the face of their captors, Denton said that after three days of beatings, his father had reached a point where he was ready to break.
After the guards left the cell, he told God he was ready to die. Denton described the scene this way: “He hears a voice say distinctly to him ‘Say Sacred Heart of Jesus, I give my soul to you.’ Not thee, but you. He had always learned thee. That gave it an authenticity ... and really struck him. “And so he hears it again ‘Say Sacred Heart of Jesus, I give my soul to you.’ He said it. Instantly all pain left him. It was a day on the beach, he felt no hunger, he felt no stress. He was empowered.”
When the guard returned, “Dad just looked at him and the guard was terrified. That was the end of the torture session.”
King David mentioned all of his foes around him and how many were raised up against him! And how many were saying “God will not deliver him.” Ps 3: 1-2. This was at a time when David probably felt like the whole nation had turned on him as well. He was on the run in the wilderness. He could have believed what they were saying.
BUT DAVID TURNED HIS EYES FROM HIS ENEMIES UNTO THE LORD.
“But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory and the One who lifts my head.” Ps 3: 3 He could sleep in peace because he knew his life was in God’s hands vv. 5-6 In faith, he asked God to defeat his enemies and “break the teeth of the wicked” v. 7 David affirms in v. 8 that his deliverance comes from the Lord.
My identity or who I am is not found in what my enemy or the crowd thinks or shouts. Who I am is all about MY RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD. David refused to be defined by his enemies and I will not either as did those brave pilots Denton and Johnson.
MY IDENTITIY IS IN THE LORD
MY HOPE IS IN THE LORD
MY LORD PROMISES TO DELIVER ME
“Our coin bears the inscription: In God We Trust. And our Bible reassures us: The Lord is just and merciful. With the Lord thence our protector, whom or what shall we fear?”