Just Run!

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I was musing over some events I had endured during military service, and there is one thing most of us did that we’ll never forget … the dreaded Gas Chamber.


The exercise is simple. Dress in your full chemical protection suit and line up single file in a small building. When it comes your turn, you simply take off your gas mask and tell the official your name, rank and serial number. Then you can leave.


The only complication is the presence of insane amounts of CS Tear gas. It doesn’t dissipate, its like a thick London fog, just hanging there in the air, sticking to and burning everything it touches. And the purpose of the exercise is to demonstrate the effectiveness of our chemical protection equipment, because that gas doesn’t bother you a bit … until you take off your mask.


You don’t have to do anything … it is suddenly in your eyes. You don’t have to breathe, it gets in your nose. And if you manage to finish rambling off your personal information, chances are good that you’re probably not disciplined enough not to respond and take an involuntary breath. That’s when it gets real, baby.


“Effects usually include tears streaming from the eyes, profuse coughing, exceptional nasal discharge that is full of mucus, burning in the eyes, eyelids, nose and throat areas, disorientation, dizziness and restricted breathing. It will also burn the skin where sweaty and or sunburned. In highly concentrated doses it can also induce severe coughing and vomiting.”  ~ Wikipedia: Tear Gas.


In my personal experience, after I had been exposed, I was done … eyes were shut, nose was running and I had taken a breath and started coughing, which forces more breaths and more coughing. I was directed immediately to the door and once outside we were told to run with our arms out as if the wind would blow the gas off our clothes. (Yes, Military Intelligence is an oxymoron, lol)


Another official outside stopped me with one hand on each shoulder. He was looking at my face but my eyes were shut tight. “Are you, OK?”, He asked me.


I replied with what seemed like a reasonable barrage of expletives, called the guy a … well it was a bad name … and, “Hell no I’m not OK!” (sorry, but I wasn’t exactly a sanctified soldier)


As I finished blasting him, I managed to blink my eyes open a couple times, and the silver images of birdies on the man’s lapel suggested that I had just cussed out our Brigade commander. All I could think to say was, “Hell no I’m not OK!, SIR!”


He was apparently used to it, chuckled and said, “You’ll be fine son, just Run!!”


Those days are long gone, and in many ways I’m glad they are. But I’ve always looked back at that event with a certain fondness in my heart toward the Colonel. In part, I suppose he represented a good father figure.


But as I recounted this event to myself, it occurred to me that it had been much the same as my salvation experience. Now wait, before you say, “Dude, you’re just weird.”, let me agree with you and get that settled.


The truth is, when I got saved, it was much the same. The Tear gas might have been replaced with the presence of God. And my unbelief was my protective equipment that prevented me from experiencing the true glory of His presence.


When I took the mask of unbelief off, I couldn’t help it. It just got in my eyes and my nose, I tried to speak and breathed it in and the next thing you know, I was lit up! It was on me and in me and like living fire that was consuming me.


Someone opened the door and said go outside, so I did. But in my case, when I got outside I was met by an official of “religion”. Religion asked me, “Are you OK?”


I shot back, “No, I’m not OK! My whole life just changed and I’m on fire!!”


Sometimes I wonder how different life would be if the officials had been more like my Colonel and said, “You’ll be fine son, just Run!!”


But its never too late to start! 


Let all of God’s messengers worship Him who makes His messengers spirits and His ministers a flame of fire!




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