Photo: My first time under fire when embedded with 101st Airborne 2nd 327 Charlie Company
I was not yet twenty years old when I was embedded with a U.S. rifle company (the tip of the spear) and under fire for the first time. God used my year in Vietnam to "break up the fallow ground or my heart and prepare it for the planting of the good seed of His Word."
My quest for peace was pressing and personal and
one year of turmoil and soul searching ended in experiencing a peace that passes understanding while kneeling by an Army bunk bed in prayer. All wars start in the heart and "sin" most simply put is the stupidest war of all, a war against God that we cannot win. I unconditionally surrendered.
“For I know my thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”
Ingimar DeRidder Raleigh, NC
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” “From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your
members?” (Jn. 14:27; James 4:1) .
Looking for Peace? Look to Jesus. When you surrender to Him, you win.
In 1966 I was “In Country.” Along with thousands of other young men, I was in Vietnam. Our government did not want to use the word, but for anyone who was there, we were at war. I was a MACV combat photographer. I was no hero. I did my job. I saw enough combat to know I didn’t like it. No one came back from that experience unscathed. Being “under fire” leaves an indelible impression on the heart and mind. The sounds, the smells, the fear, the adrenaline rush of a fire fight, the report of a Howitzer sending a round out and the whistle and rushing sound of a round coming in is something that is recorded forever in the brain. It was crazy. Even today the sound of a helicopter awakens a million memories and stirs up the dust and dirt in the darkest corners of emotion. I brought the war back with me. I was troubled. I had many unanswered questions. Questions about life and death, good and evil, fairness and injustice. A war was still raging in my soul.
Then one day I heard about Jesus. I heard about how man was at war with God and how every war is the reflection of man’s unwillingness to submit to His rightful rule. I heard about how Jesus came onto the battle field of this planet and sacrificed his life to save me. He came to save me from the poverty, penalty, power, and (one day) the presence of sin. I heard about how he willingly died on the cross to purchase a place for me in heaven and promised to give me peace if I would only agree with God (repent) and place my trust and faith in Him. I did. And when I did, suddenly I had peace. The war was over. I surrendered to God. Whenever anyone surrenders to God, he cannot lose. He can only win.