Dear fellow soldiers:
This is in the nature of an open letter to you servicemen. Having been requested to write upon a subject of interest to the service men I choose this means to chat with you about current events, which I hope will be of interest to you.
My first event is our recent trip to Iowa to attend the Classis in Sioux Center. Of course, you fellows can understand that I cannot relate the matters that came up for attention in this brief letter. If you are interested you ought to consult the church papers for the official reports. There are impressions that one receives which are not found in official reports, and that is the matter about which I wish to write.
One thing that was impressed upon me by the conversation with elders and ministers and by my observation of things in general is the fact that there is trouble in our churches. That ought to be expected in our churches because wherever Christians are serious about matters of faith and conviction there is inevitable clash in the church militant. The trouble is serious however, when there is not the faith that our only King and High Priest, Jesus Christ, is going to see us through this difficulty. You fellows in the service realize that that firm conviction is necessary to have peace of mind. When you face the matter of induction and battle, your only comfort is that you belong to Him and that He will cause all things to work together for good. Without that faith you are not good soldiers. Speaking to the soldiers of Christ Paul says, “endure hardness”.
Another trouble with trouble is that there is often a failure to determine or to state the issues. It is always necessary to analyze the case, to seek understanding of both sides and finally to express an impartial judgment upon the case in hand without having imposed other issues produced by our fears and imaginations.
In this connection it was impressed upon me too that we should heed the admonition of Paul, to be followers together of Paul, and mark them which walk so as ye have us as an ensample. By our associations with certain Christians we learn to gain the right perspective upon matters that take place in our church life and also in our personal life. Certain individuals are only able to inflame us and lead us into deeper bitterness by their malice and slander. Others are able to lead us closer to God; they seem to stand aloof from all small things and yet have a way to dissolve the little troubles.
Such a character I met in Hull, Iowa. She was Grandma Gritters, mother to our Rev. Gritters. This month she is eighty years old, and she is still keen of mind and spirit, one whom many old and young in her neighborhood have cherished for her Christian spirit and wisdom. Her conversation was seasoned with salt and it brought me into contact with one who has been connected with the organism of the church many more years than you young soldiers or any of us.
One thing among other things that I shall remember was her remark about someone’s loss of a dear one. To such a one she had remarked that it was hard to bear such a loss at first but that one will get used to it after a while. She spoke from the Christian hardness that the Lord gives to His children from His abundant grace. It was not a hardness which had its sufficiency in the flesh, or which spoke in a fatalistic vein. It came from a humble and quiet spirit which trusted in God’s goodness and wisdom with all things.
Fellows in the service, you must have had experiences of separation which many of us have not experienced. You too can appreciate the sentiment of this old lady and can thank God for the strength He has given and will give in the days that lie ahead.
The second event which occurred during my visit to Iowa and which is now being treated in the news comments that I am reading is the death of the ruler of Soviet Russia. The death of a world ruler impresses me so much with the inescapable fact that there is a Ruler who rules from everlasting who doeth all His good pleasure.