This article is the last post in a three-part miniseries on Memorial Day. It is written by special guest Jeff Struecker. Read more about his story in part one, “Remember America’s Heroes” and part two, “Reflections on Faith, Freedom, and Our Future in Heaven.”
I’m trying to be a steward of a story. It’s not really my story. It is the story of Jesus’ sacrifice to redeem me. It’s the story of God’s providence to spare my life—many times. And it’s the story of the Holy Spirit giving me supernatural, unexplainable peace in the midst of certain death. I’m trying to be a good steward of the story of Black Hawk Down.
I took part in this battle more than 20 years ago. In 1993, when Task Force Ranger was sent to Mogadishu, Somalia, I was a 24-year-old Squad Leader serving in the U.S. Army’s 3rd Ranger Battalion. I had been to combat twice before this mission—both the invasion of Panama and in Kuwait as part of Desert Storm. But nothing I experienced in these two wars prepared me for the battle of the Bakara Market in Mogadishu, Somalia.
Supernatural, Unexplainable Peace
Black Hawk Down was the event that God used to change my life forever. I had a very strong Christian faith before I joined the army and went to Somalia. Although I spent more than 18 hours in the big firefight that left 18 Americans and hundreds of Somalis dead, I was convinced for most of that battle that I would never see the next sunrise. I was certain that I would die before the night was out and God gave me an unexplainable peace throughout that entire battle. My hope of heaven enabled me to fight with a “bulletproof faith” knowing that my life was in the providential hands of God almighty.
After the battle was over—the next day—I felt an overwhelming sense that God spared my life for a reason. It became clear to me that he wanted me to serve him in full-time Christian ministry.
When the book and the movie Black Hawk Down came out, I was serving as an Army Chaplain. People started calling, asking me to speak to their churches about Somalia. Every time I get that phone call, I view it as an opportunity. A chance to use this story that God has given me to bring glory to King Jesus.
I now serve as the Lead Pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Columbus, Georgia. Our church is located next to one of our nation’s largest military bases, Fort Benning. I’m glad God called me to this church and this city because I still get the chance to hang around warriors and their families. I get asked a lot of questions about Black Hawk Down. Every time someone asks me those questions I view it as another opportunity to be a good steward of God’s story redeeming a soldier and his rescue of a soldier in the streets of Mogadishu.
Ministry can be some of the most time-consuming and exhausting work. There’s always another couple to counsel, another crisis to be involved with, another study to lead, and another meeting to attend.
That’s why we partnered with Jeff Struecker, a long-time Logos user, to help personally craft the Logos 6 Chaplain’s Library. Together, we created this resource for those ministering during a crisis, quickly preparing a sermon for a diverse audience, or navigating complex counseling issues. If you are a chaplain, pastor, or just counseling those you care about, the Chaplain’s Library is for you. It will save you time and give you the answers you need.