Trust and Follow, Part I

  • Pete Johnson
Man in tactical gear and rifle stalking in the grass

Trust and Follow
Part I

Way back in the early 1980s, I was going through Air Base Ground Defense (ABGD) at Camp Bullis Texas. At this point in our training, we were being taught specific skills required to clear out small pockets of enemy forces embedded in previously occupied areas. In one of these exercises, we were to clear a roadway of hostile combatants. It was a dirt road and on each side of the road there were ditches, then a thick cover of trees and bushes, and the occasional pile of construction debris.
            As a two-man team, it was our job to clear the road as well as the adjacent areas of any enemy threat. The problem, however, was that the enemy had cover and concealment. They were hidden from view.

            As the drill started, I followed my team leader and we slowly maneuvered our way down the dirt road, using the techniques we had learned such as low crawling, high crawling, and hand signals.

            Then the fireworks began. The sound of M-16 rounds in short bursts began ringing in the air. (No live rounds were being used, just blanks. At that time, we used what was called the m.i.l.e.s. system; Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System.)

            To be honest, I had no clue where the enemy was or where their fire was coming from!
I simply followed my team leader. When he darted from here to there, I darted. When he engaged the enemy’s location, I engaged; all without seeing anyone I was shooting at!
            When the exercise was completed, we had successfully neutralized all hostiles, one of the few teams to do so.
            As I look back on that event, all I did was follow what my team leader did. To this day, I don’t recall seeing any of the enemy forces we eliminated. I knew they were there; they were shooting at me!  Their objective was to eliminate us or render our team ineffective. Fortunately, my leader saw what I couldn’t see and was acting, which gave me the confidence to push on and successfully complete the mission.


There is an Old Testament story found in 2 Kings 6:8–23, that reminds me of that day. 

The story tells of a time in history when Syria was waging war against Israel. One incident during that war is relayed to us here in the Scripture.

On several occasions the King of Syria’s war plans, those he had made with confidence and in secrecy with his trusted generals, were somehow leaked. With this leaked information the Israeli forces were able to pass, undetected, by the Syrian forces. This happened several times and the Syrian king was rightfully concerned that he had a spy amongst his trusted advisors.
Bringing his generals together, he bluntly asked who the mole was!

One of his servants answered and told him that it was no one within the Syrian camp, it was a man named Elisha, a prophet of Israel. “None my lord, O king; but Elisha, the prophet in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom.” (2 Kings 6:12)

Elisha’s location was verified, and a very large military contingent was sent to seize one man, this man of God.
Elisha had a servant, who, even though he had seen the miracles of God that were performed through his master, he didn’t have the heavenly insight that Elisha possessed.

Early one morning, before the sun was up, the Syrian forces had surrounded the small town in which the prophet Elisha was dwelling. Elisha’s servant woke up, perhaps expecting the day to be as lovely as the one before and stepped outside. When he went outside, he encountered something that 1.) took him totally by surprise and 2.) felt as though there was no way out of his current dilemma.

 “When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city.”  2 Kings 6:15

  • Took him totally by surprise:

Before this day, the servant of Elisha more than likely felt safe and secure. Hanging out with the LORD’s prophet, should, in human reasoning, provide for an easy go of things, shouldn’t it? But then, in an instant, his world, his security, his peace, his confidence that this day would be a good day, suddenly came to a screeching halt. He needed a different point of view.


  • He felt as though there was no way out of his dilemma.

All he could see was the Syrian Army. He looked to the left, to the right, and behind him. He was hemmed in with nowhere to go. It was just him and the Syrian army. I get the feeling that his question to Elisha was one that was filled with confusion, anxiety, and despair.

“And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?”

Perhaps he even questioned, why is God letting this happen. I’m serving Him! I’m doing all the right things that a servant is supposed to be doing. Why is this happening?

Yet there was something that he didn’t see. Something that Elisha knew was there all along.

 He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”  Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”

Seeing what Elisha could see allowed this servant to calm his fear and anxiety. Even though the formidable Syrian army was still there, there was also another power present. An army grander, more battle ready, the LORD’s army!

Wouldn’t it be super helpful, if during our dire situations, the times in our lives when we are not sure how things will work out, or why things are going the way they are going, that we could see the army of God surrounding us?

Yeah, well that may not happen. So, what do I need to do to get through those times?

I believe the same thing that Elisha’s servant did, the same thing I did back in ABGD training.

Trust and Follow

We will talk about these two points next time.

I want to leave you with a “stake for your tent” as you sojourn through your difficulties here on earth.

When all you can see is the worst of what is happening and what might happen, when the army of the prince of this world seems to have surrounded you and there seems to be no way out, remember…

“Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4

Stayed tuned for part II.