The Reason Why

“Cannon to the right of them, cannon to the left of them
Cannon in front of them, Volley’d and thunder’d
Theirs not to reason why, theirs but to do and die.”
(Tennyson, “Charge of the Light Brigade”)

Tennyson’s memorable words describe the attitude of infantrymen — “grunts” -? who must fling themselves into the firing line at the command of their superior officers, unthinking and unquestioning. What makes this tough is the sneaking suspicion that their commanding officers and political leaders don’t always know what they are doing or why. It must surely be demoralizing for troops to fight under those conditions.
So wouldn’t it be nice if superior officers did know what they were doing? That’s the crunch, I suspect. In the confusion and haze of battle, human leaders are limited. Where’s the enemy? What is our cause? What does the future hold?
How wonderful, then, to fight under the command of the Lord of Hosts and do so in the sweet knowledge that he knows everything — our fears, the enemy’s schemes, and the future. We can follow him blindly because he sees. We can charge because we know the cause is just and well worth fighting for. We don’t have to reason why, because we know that Jesus Christ commands us for sufficient reason.
We don’t reason; we believe.
That’s a luxury not given to the poor earthly soldier. But we fight for the army of God, and that makes all the difference!
“No one serving as a solider gets involved in civilian affairs — he wants to please his commanding officer” (2 Timothy 2:4).

4 Replies to “The Reason Why”

  1. What translation are you using for 2 Tim 2:4?
    Is there a thrust in the article …not be involved in service to ones country as a soldier, etc.?

  2. Good article! Roman legionaires were totally devoted to the army. They could not even marry local women. Paul is encouraging Christians to be totally devoted to the army of Christ, not to be distracted by the pleasures of this world.

  3. This article was interesting to me, since I’m in the Army myself! Keep up the good work!
    God Bless,

  4. The author – back from a mission trip to Zimbabwe.
    I was not commenting on the rights or wrongs of war, a good subject to be sure. I was commenting on the great gap between human officers, limited as they are by human failings, and Jesus, the Christian’s commander in chief! Thanks for the good comments. God’s richest blessings
    Stan Mitchell

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