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Stories of Lives Liberated

Light on the Battlefield

For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 4:6 ESV

There was one such time of darkness and of darkened hearts into which God entered and shone a light that would endure and grow in the midst of the shadows of death. On April 12, 1861, the United States of America was torn in two. In a movement to preserve the rights of some to own others in slavery, the 11 southern confederate states sought forcefully to divorce themselves from the nation – the remaining union in the north sought to prevent this. So it was that in a war over unity and slavery, the nation was divided and yet enslaved together to a war that would last four long and brutal years.

In the duration of those years, something over 2 million Union soldiers fought against just over 1 million Confederate soldiers – many of these combatants fighting their  neighbors and family aligned with the opposing forces. By the war’s end on May 9, 1865 – with the surrender of the Confederate army – there had been close to 620,000 casualties in total, surpassing all other wars involving the United States combined.

But from this war-trodden soil a harvest of hope and life was taken that would feed the generations to come. In the midst of the destruction, approximately 300,000 soldiers came to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. A prominent Christian organization known as the U.S. Christian Commission distributed around 30 million gospel tracts to soldiers on both sides of the war; these soldiers were yearning for a hope to hold on to. In wake of this revival, there was also a considerable increase in the number of chaplains serving on both sides, as well as a newly emerging appreciation for their services.

Beyond the looming shadows of violence and ignorance, the light of God’s glory shone brightly and was not extinguished, but grew all the more, as a desperate people sought deliverance. Those desperate people, having thereby known life in the midst of death, became forefathers of our faith as they passed then to us the torch which could not be put out.

If then in such cold blackness this torch could burn, then surely no less can it burn in our lives now. We all have battles to fight and shadows of death to contend with, but if we are in Christ we have life and hope because we are no longer slaves to the war – instead we have freedom in being children of victory, lovingly enduring the fleeting with our eyes fixed on the eternal. Turn to God in faith and know your identity as His child because of Christ; shine with His light in the darkest places and hold fast to the only Giver of life.

“Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you” (Ephesians 5:14).

 

Sam Lamont devotes his writings to exploring God’s narrative as seen in world history, shining a light on how Christ’s church has developed throughout the ages. “Join me in reflecting on our past – as we peer through the lens of truth and freedom in the gospel; I pray we will grow all the more in our understanding of what Christ has called us to be.”