Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Standing in the Breach

Somewhere, amidst the din and clutter of our daily lives, we know there are soldiers that are fighting a war on foreign soil. We may disagree about the impetus for the war; we may be vague about the reasons for the conflict, but troops are there fighting and sacrificing.

They are standing in the breach.

"Standing in the breach" is not a phrase we often use in modern vernacular. The origins of that phrase go back to Biblical times and the relationship of God to his chosen people, the Israelites. Ezekiel 22:29-30 says,

"The people of the land (the Israelites) have practiced extortion and committed robbery. They have oppressed the poor and needy and have extorted from the sojourner without justice. And I (God) sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the breach before me for the land that I should not destroy it, but I found none."
The chosen people of God had turned their back on Him, and God was looking for a righteous man to "stand in the breach"- literally to fill the gap in the wall that protected the city- to stave off the wrath that was to come.

This post is not a Bible lesson, but the principal that someone should "stand in the breach" to protect a people is still relevant to our lives just as it was in Biblical times.

We still have those that stand in the breach today. Parents stand in the breach for their children. All of us that have raised children or are raising children fight daily to keep the evil and the corrupt influences of this world away from our young and innocent offspring.  Those loving parents are wall around their children, fending off the unwanted attacks of those that would despoil their innocence or worse. Churches often stand in the breach for the downtrodden of our community. Anyone that has steered someone away from harm, emotional or physical, has stood in the breach.

Our world today is an evil world, one filled with people that resent the freedoms that so many enjoy and, too often, take for granted. Those hate filled people are like the enemy armies in the days of the ancient Israelites, looking for weakness to exploit, looking for a breach in the wall.

And there are breaches.

Into those gaps have stepped valiant servicemen and women, whom we honor on this Veterans Day.

Stepping into the breach is no easy task at best. It always demands sacrifice- time away from family, physical privation, and sometimes the laying down of  life. Stepping into a breach is not something done lightly; no, those that do so are prepared to make, if necessary, the ultimate sacrifice.

I received an e-mail on November 6th from Colonel Andrew Poppas, commander of the 327th Combat Brigade out of Ft. Campbell. He and his unit have been boots on the ground in Afghanistan for the past six months. At this time, their tour is open ended. He and his men are currently operating in the Pech
Valley, and they have encountered the Taliban forces on numerous occasions. The Taliban documents and information that have been recovered  by these soldiers indicate that the assault on free people around the world  by the Taliban will not end soon. The encounters have been ferocious and not without bloodshed and loss of life.

This day, these men and women stand in the breach, protecting us, preventing harm and malevolence from encroaching on our nation, our homes, and our families.

Our great nation and the freedoms we enjoy are made possible by someone who answered the call like the forces in the 327th. Someone who, with immeasurable courage and sacrifice, was willing to protect our nation, its freedoms, and you and me.

Someone willing to stand in the breach.

To those that have gone before, we remember and honor your sacrifice.

To those that have stood in the breach and are with us now, we offer our sincere gratitude.

To those that are currently standing in the breach, thank you and Godspeed to you.

We will never forget that you are there, protecting us from the evil in this world. And we are thankful that you are willing to stand in the breach.