Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Ephesians 6:13
Doc Long of Greensboro, North Carolina, is an 89-year-old veteran of World War II.
Long enlisted in the service at the age of 19 and, before he left home, his aunt gave him a pocket Bible with his name stamped in gold on the cover. Her gift came with these instructions: "I want you to read it daily and carry it with you wherever you go in the pocket over your heart."
Long made it through boot camp and was eventually sent to the European theater of operations. That's where he was when, on November 13, 1944, the French tank he was following was hit by a German bazooka shell. Long was struck in the arm and fell to the ground. A second shell lifted him in the air and deposited him some distance from where he had originally fallen.
While he waited for help, Long prayed and asked the Lord for assistance. Then he remembered the words of Psalm 23: "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me."
The next day a French soldier found him and took him to the infirmary. They patched him up ... except for his arm ... which was paralyzed. Doc Long was eventually discharged and with his release from military service, came the return of all his personal effects, including the Bible from his aunt.
I can't tell you if Long had read the Bible every day as she had instructed. I can tell you he always carried that Bible in the pocket over his heart. In his pocket, that's where Long's Bible was when those bazooka shells exploded. Inspection of his Bible showed it had saved his life. Deeply imbedded in the pages of the Holy Book, Long found a piece of shrapnel, which had been headed for his heart.
For a long time Long has been telling people his story. He wants them to hear how a Bible over his heart had saved his life. His is an unusual story.
Indeed, Long's story is unique because most people are eternally saved by the Word of God, which is not over, but in their hearts.
They are saved because, by the Holy Spirit's leading, they have been brought to faith in God's Son who came into this world to be the designated Sacrifice for the sins of humankind. Jesus' perfect life, His complete commitment to the Father's plan to save us, His carrying of our sins, as well as His death and glorious resurrection, are the only way we can be forgiven: the only protection from sin, death and Satan.
Heartfelt faith in Jesus, as told in God's inspired Word, that is what protects us from sinful shrapnel; it is what moves us from condemnation to salvation and saves us for eternity.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, may the Holy Spirit motivate me to carry and use the Word. May that Word in my heart lead me to give thanks for the Savior who gave His life so I might be forgiven and shielded from Satan's accusations. This I ask in the Name of my Savior, Jesus. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries