Do You Think I’ll Make a Soldier?

Last night I stood around a beach camp fire with a group of teenage young people. They had finished their weiner roast – they had burned their fingers on hot marshmallows, midst a great deal of shrieking and laughing… now they had begun to sing. They inched closer to the fire as their voices blended in songs of joy because Christ was abiding in their hearts and they realized the wonderful gift He had given them.

As the embers of the fire began to burn lower, a wonderful quietness enveloped them. As so often happens around an evening campfire, hearts became reflective. They began to sing in a slow, rhythmical, almost halting manner…

Do you … think I’ll … make a … Soldier?

Do you … think I’ll … make a … Soldier?

Do you … think I’ll … make a …Soldier?

Soldier … of the Cross.

Their leader was a young man just graduating from high school who came from a home where no one particularly cared if he went to church or not. He walked alone. But God had laid His hand on this young man a few months before, and now Larry had dedicated his life to the work of the Lord and had plans to be an evangelist.

I can still see the earnest faces as they sang:

Every … round goes … higher … higher;

Every … round goes … higher … higher;

Every … round goes … higher … higher;

Soldiers … of the Cross.

Between each halting phrase they seemed to be facing up to the struggles they must endure; to the battles that must be fought and won if they were to gain the victor’s crown. They sang with meaning and spirit, voices drifting out over the waters of the Pacific on this warm, spring night. Some gazed into the fire as they sang – or watched the white breakers as they rolled over and over along the shore. The stars by now had burst through the heavens and twinkled upon the scene in all their glory.

Heaven seemed so close.

LWT.Gladys_Bonfire

Impressed by the earnestness with which they sang verse after verse of the song, I was carried with them through the doubts – the fears – the questions – until, finally they burst forth with the challenge:

If you … love Him … why not … serve Him?

If you … love Him … why not … serve Him?

If you … love Him … why not … serve Him?

Soldiers … of the Cross.

In that moment, I am sure no sacrifice would have been too great to make for the cause of Christ. They had taken their stand with the soldiers of by-gone days who had given their lives for the gospels’ sake.

A challenge in song had been brought – they had accepted! Youth loves a challenge! They will accept the challenge of a dedicated life. It is we oldsters who try to make the way easy for them. We try to remove the hardships of “being different” from everyone else. Perhaps we have been guilty of making the way too easy. Christ has called: “Quit ye like men – be strong.” We have answered, “Let us help you to make the way easier.”

We have been given the commission to “go into all the world and preach the gospel…” This gospel demands a dedicated, separated life. Let’s not minimize it! Let’s give our young people the chance to “be different.”

The bonfire has gone out! The waves have washed away the embers. But the challenge of that moment lives on. God grant that it shall bring forth much fruit in the lives of the young people who stood with me there.

“Do You Think I’ll Make a Soldier?” by Rev. Gladys I. Johnson was first published in Foursquare Magazine in May, 1958  (Song lyrics from “We Are Climbing Jacob’s Ladder” Traditional African American Spiritual Hymn)

 

Editor’s Note: It warms my heart to have read this piece, written by my mother before I was even born. I hope you enjoy the challenge of it, and know that every generation has it’s own challenge to meet. I thought the video above from Rend Collective singing around a bonfire was appropriate to share with you! God Bless, Tami Romani

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