In the Foxhole (a Soldier’s Poem)
Deploying into combat, Soldiers sometimes discover that the dangers of war and the possibility of death cause them to examine their spiritual life and they may choose to re-engage the faith of their childhood or explore religion for the first time. Evidence can be found in nearly every war of Soldiers finding or rediscovering God as a way of coping with the dangers of combat, ensuring their eternal destiny or enjoying abundant life and internal peace in the midst of a world where political peace cannot be found. “A prisoner-of-war came into possession of the following poem written in Normandy by an unknown soldier. The P.O.W. sent it home to England” and it subsequently was published by a Canadian hospital ship named Letitia in 1945:
In the Foxhole
Christ, I thought I knew all the answers
Until madness started this war;
I never gave You a second thought,
Nor even talked to You before.
The age-old story of Bethlehem,
And the drama of Calvary,
Were nothing more than mere fairy-tales–
Yes, Lord, mere fairy-tales to me.
But to-night, my helmet is heavy,
And so is the pack on my back;
Barbed wire has left me two torn hands,
And my feet leave a bloody track.
My shoulders sag ‘neath this heavy gun,
And my body is weary with pain,
And my whole tortured being cries out
For rest and release, but in vain.
For the first time in my life I know
Your head hurt from a thorny crown,
And your tired bleeding Shoulders ached
When that heavy Cross weighed You down.
Those nails cut into Your Hands and Feet,
Every inch of Your Flesh was torn,
And Your bruised Body was weary;
My God, once You too were care-worn!
But You didn’t quit–You carried on
Until the grim battle was through;
And now I know You did it for me–
So I’ll go on fighting for You.
I want You to know I am sorry,
It was my sins put You to death,
And I’ll keep on saying I’m sorry
Until I draw my last breath.
Christ, I never knew war could be the means of saving my soul;
How little I thought that I would find You
In this muddy foxhole.