Christianity is Not for Wimps!

The following is an excerpt from the epilogue of the book, A Time to Kill, a Time to Heal by Roger Helle. The title reflects the words from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.

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I was in the operating room. Internal bleeding had caused the doctor to rush me to surgery at the Ninety-fifth Evacuation Hospital in Vietnam. Due to the loss of blood, I was cold and began to shiver. I remember they came and covered me with warm blankets to stop the shaking. I looked up at the bright lights over the operating table and could smell the sweet, sickly scent of blood and burnt flesh. I could hear doctors and nurses talking as they were giving emergency care to a newly arrived casualty. As quickly as the flashback came, it was gone. I was not in the Ninety-fifth EVAC, but in my dentist’s office and thirty-five years had passed.

At my age, when I sit too long anywhere, I might nod off, and with the combination of both Novocain and gas, my mind flashed back across the years to that scene in the operating room in Vietnam. But unlike the flashbacks of years past, when I woke up, there was no fear, no heart-pounding emotions or sweaty palms – just peace.

That peace has kept me for all these years. It has never left me because Jesus said He would never leave me or forsake me. Because He is God and cannot lie, His peace has remained over my life. You need to understand that if Christ had not come into my life, you would not even be reading this story. For over four years, Vietnam was too painful to think about. I tried to make all the painful memories go away myself, but nothing worked.

But when Jesus came into my life, He took all my pain, and not just Vietnam. Before I ever went to Vietnam, before the first bullets ever ripped into my flesh, I was already wounded. Life had wounded me. Abuse, rejection, my fears and insecurities, all had left me wounded. The only reason I can tell this story now is because Christ came into a heart that was infected with hate, guilt, fear, and shame. He did heart surgery. By His precious blood, He cleaned out all the infection, and He closed my heart up and made it whole.

Understand that the memory of Vietnam is still with me today. I still remember what happened, though it was many years ago. The difference today is that the pain that was once associated with those memories is gone. The scars on my body still remind me of the wounds, but those wounds are now healed.

Have you been wounded by life? Do the memories of your past still haunt you today? Are they still painful? Have you endured a divorce, past abuse, a rape, or an abortion? Maybe you were unfaithful to your spouse or failed at a job. It does not matter what the pain is, Jesus is ready to heal your wounded heart too. My life as a Christian has not been perfect or one without struggles and trials. God did not promise we would never be without problems. He did promise, however, to be with us through them.

I am a believer who has struggled many times in my walk with Christ. I have failed many times to be the person I thought God wanted me to be. But through my failings, I have discovered His faithfulness.

Even after becoming a Christian, I could hear my mother’s voice telling me I was a failure; and even as a Christian, I would find myself listening to the lie and, at times, believing it. Becoming a Christian does not make you perfect. As we come to know the savior, we desire to be more like him. That is a lifelong journey, and the journey is well worth it.

When temptation came, in whatever form, I would think there was something wrong with me. I did not always realize where that temptation was coming from. If you listen to a lie long enough, you will begin to believe it. For far too long, I believed the lie that I could never change, that I’d always be a failure, struggling with temptations. But I found that God’s Word is true, and I have chosen to believe it instead.

If there is one lesson I have learned, it is that “He is faithful!” Even when I am not, He is faithful and if we seek Him, we will find Him. I do not struggle today like I once did. I have found that place of rest in Him, and He is all I need. In good times and bad, He has never failed me, and He will not fail you either.

I don’t know where you are in your life right now as you read this. If you are a Christian, I hope it will encourage you to believe God to do great things in and through you. The Lord continues to look “for a few good men and women” to serve Him. Will you be one of them? Maybe you are one that once knew the Lord, or maybe knew about Him but have drifted away for whatever reason. I pray you will be challenged to realize you will never find peace apart from Him. The things you have been chasing are elusive and fly away. Even if you have sought after riches, fame, sex, or possessions, they will not satisfy. I pray that you, like the prodigal son, will “come to your senses” and come back to Him. While you went to a far-off place searching, He has waited patiently for you to come home. So please, turn your heart toward home today. He is waiting for you with open arms.

Or maybe you were like Shirley and me; you know nothing about this God stuff and are pretty sure that you don’t need Him. In fact, you’re not sure that you even believe in God. I understand, because that’s the way I was. I didn’t need religion; it was a crutch for weak people. Yet why is it that here you are? What was it that, as you were reading, kept drawing you? It was God.

There are no accidents with Him. He has been reaching out to you for some time now, waiting for your heart to become open to His touch. Maybe you have always felt that churches were for hypocrites or weaklings. A church was the last place you would want to go. Church people are always judging.

My friend, you have been to the wrong church. But there is a church, and it’s a lot like the hospital they took me to in Vietnam in 1970. That was my third tour, and I was an experienced combat veteran. Yet there I was, ripped to pieces, bleeding from every part of my body, my life slowly draining away.

When the doctors came into the room, they did not look at me and say, “Sergeant, how in the world did you get yourself so messed up. Don’t you know any better?” Instead, they jumped in and used all their medical training and ability and saved my life.

That is what God wants for you too. Life has left you wounded, and He wants you to come into His intensive care unit, the church, so He can use His people to guide you to healing from the wounds of life. It’s not hard; we just make it that way. God looks for the heart that is broken and sees it has sinned and is apart from Him. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9). Then, in faith, we thank Him for what He has done.

Your life will never be the same. Christianity is not for wimps! Ask my friends in Vietnam.

Helle,Roger L.. A Time to Kill, a Time to Heal (pp. 281-284). Christian Faith Publishing, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

Roger Helle, a Marine Vietnam veteran and spent 40 years working with Teen Challenge, a faith-based program for those bound by life-controlling addictions.

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