Monday, September 08, 2003

The Patrol

The day began early. A quick brief, a quick breakfast, camouflage painted on hands and face, weapons checked and rechecked, scenarios discussed and practiced, weapons locked and loaded. We were ready. Even in the humid, pre-dawn twilight one could sense the tension. This was no normal patrol. This was the real thing...real bullets, real enemy, real everything. Shortly after sunup we headed quietly out into the dense forest undergrowth. Our patrol was to take us into the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea and along the Military Demarcation Line. 12 inches to our left was a hostile, communist country. As we made our way along the MDL I began to look into North Korea. It looked remarkably like to South Korea from my vantage, with little more than vines and trees everywhere. Only an occasional rusted yellow sign informed us which country we were in. After a while, I began to wonder what the other side of that sign looked like so, as we approached the border marker, keeping my feet in the free world, I leaned across the border to quickly look at things from another perspective. At the next sign I actually crossed the border and walked around the sign. I got my look at life in North Korea and returned safely to the South. As the day and the patrol wore on I ventured several more times into the North, each time going a bit farther, becoming more comfortable with the thought that an encounter with a hostile force was not very likely. As my audacity grew I began to think how harmless it would be to walk around and see if I could find any interesting souvenirs lying around. "After all," I reasoned, "I'm not defecting or anything. I'm simply exploring." By noon the patrol ended and we all returned safely home.

Have you ever been somewhere or done something you knew you shouldn't? At first it seemed like no big deal, just a little curious exploring. "I won't stay long," you reason. "Just a little looking around and trophy collecting." That's what sin is like. But don't kid yourself, stay on the wrong side of the border and you will get caught. Proverbs 16:25 says, "There's a way that looks harmless enough; look again--it leads straight to hell." (MSG)

Don't get caught in enemy territory. On Judgment Day, there'll be hell to pay.