Days after the tragedy of 9/11 struck our nation’s soul, members of the special forces known as the Green Beret were asked to pack their bags, leave their families and head straight into the heart of warfare. While each of us back home struggled to come to grips with the devastation that came about so suddenly, these men set out to do something about it.
They flew there with one goal in mind: Stop the enemy before the enemy could make another attack on innocent lives.
The special forces knew that if they could get to the root of the attack in a limited amount of time, they could win the immediate war of protecting citizens on America’s soil. They could protect individuals, families, churches and communities but only by letting go of what they once knew concerning conventional warfare and embracing a strategy that would work.
One man, Mark Nutsch, was chosen to lead the twelve men into battle. Despite having no combat experience, his confidence and ability to think outside of normative approaches during the vetting process won him the assignment. Little did the military leaders know at the time of choosing him that Mark’s experience growing up on his family’s ranch, working as a ranch hand in college and riding horses in rodeos would be one of his greatest assets.
After all, this wasn’t a war fought with militaries lined up and facing each other on opposite sides. Nor was it even a war fought in the trenches. Rather, to excel in this war, combatants would need to battle the elements, ride horses over rough and dangerous terrain, and outwit an opponent who knew the landscape like the back of their own hands.
To win this battle, Mark and his team of eleven other brave men would have to fight according to the rules of the enemy themselves.
Their campaign was supposed to take six weeks but due to weather, they sought to complete it in three. It was supposed to take multiple teams of Green Beret but due to the elements, topography, and lack of entrance points, they were given only one team of twelve men. It was supposed to rack up a high level of casualties on the American side due to the risks involved, they walked away with none.
Because these men chose to adapt to the environment and allies surrounding them and work within the strategies at hand, they accomplished what few, if any, thought they even could. On horseback, they battled tanks and troops armed with missiles.
Maybe it was Mark’s lack of previous combat experience which opened him up to adapting his strategy to the battle at hand more so than someone else possibly could have. We’ll never know for sure. But one thing we do know is that it was his willingness to set aside logic, convention and what had been recorded over time on paper that allowed him to approach this battle in a way unlike any other that had been fought in the history of our nation.
It also allowed him to lead his team of twelve into the quickest, most decisive victory in the history of our nation.
2000 years ago, another team of twelve followed another unconventional leader. He didn’t ride a horse, but He rode a donkey. It didn’t take him three weeks, but it took Him three days. He didn’t fight for a nation, but He fought for a kingdom.
In doing so, He secured for each of us the victory which is ours to claim.
Yet only as we are willing to follow Him by laying down our own logic, our own perspective, our own approach and our own understanding of how to fight this war will we discover the fullness and effects of that victory in every area of our lives.
It is in following Christ as our Captain that we can win this war. It is in studying His battle plan that we can discover how to carry out our own. It is in conforming our hearts and transforming our minds to His that we will gain the strategic insights we need to live out the victory He has already secured for us.
See, this battle is unlike any other battles before. This battle has already been decided. The outcome has already been secured. Jesus Christ gained the victory through His death, burial, and resurrection. But in order for us to experience the manifestation of that victory in our own lives, we will need to learn how to maneuver through the mines left behind from an enemy still bent on making our lives miserable along the way.
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