I met Ellis Cowart in the latter part of the 80s.
A friend had told me about the abundance of whitetail deer on Mr. Cowart’s property, so I made a special point to introduce myself and see if I might be able to get permission to hunt.
He was a very gracious man and said I was welcome to come over anytime I desired. That was music to my ears, and within a few days I had harvested my first five-pointer.
But my memory of Mr. Cowart revolves not so much around his land or that first buck, but that initial meeting in his living room.
He wore faded blue overalls. He sat in a large, overstuffed recliner and spoke in a calm, reassuring way.
Behind his head, above the recliner, a small glass shadow box hung on the wall. Encased inside was an even smaller, well-worn pocket New Testament.
What struck me about the contents of the display was that the Bible had been mounted open to the latter part of the book of Revelation. There was a hole through the entirety of the text from the front cover all of the way through to the 17th chapter of Revelation. A small rifle bullet was fixed there in the center of the New Testament.
My curiosity got the best of me, so I asked Mr. Cowart if he might tell me the story behind the New Testament and the bullet in the shadow box. Here’s what he said:
“Me and my buddies were in Patton’s army in World War II. One morning we got caught in the middle of a fierce gun battle with a German infantry. Small arms fire and shrapnel was flying everywhere.
“Suddenly, one bullet smashed into my arm, one grazed my forehead, one hit the edge of my helmet, and one hit me squarely in the chest. As it turned out, I had been keeping this small pocket New Testament in the front of my jacket and it actually prevented that last murderous projectile from penetrating my chest. ‘The Word’ quite literally saved my life. The bullet stopped right there in Revelation 17.”
I have often pondered on that incredible footnote in Mr. Cowart’s life. It reminds me of a passage from Scripture. James wrote:
“Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21).
Good reader, where’s your Bible right now?
- Do you read and study it daily (Acts 17:11)?
- Have you committed important passages to memory (Psalm 119:15)?
- Do you meditate on the word and allow it to permeate the inner man (Luke 8:11-15)?
If soldier and Scripture teach us anything, it is that we must keep the Word of God near our hearts (Psalm 119:11).
The enemy is intent on our destruction. He’ll stop at nothing, and he’ll use every weapon at his disposal, including and especially fiery darts (Ephesians 6:16). They’re aimed at the very core of our faith, and unless you and I protect ourselves from his assaults, we’ll die and lose something far more precious than our lives — we’ll lose our souls (Romans 1:16; 2 Timothy 3:15).