Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays we wake up in time to form up in the day room by 04:45. When it's warm enough - as it has been the last few occasions - we go running as a detachment.
After taking an accountability muster in the day room, we go out and form up in the street for stretches and then get into three ranks and get to it.
Along the way we have someone calling out the cadence. One of my favorites is "Runnin' Through the Jungle" in which a narrative is told in the first-person about running through the jungle early in the day and encountering different jungle animals. The animals threaten the runner, but the runner warns each of the creatures that if they don't yield they will each be turned into a battle helmet, a parka liner, a pair of skivvies, or a pair of boots. Each of these articles of clothing are necessary parts of a sailor's uniform.
With that in mind, not too long ago at church someone mentioned the armor of God and then we went through the different pieces of the armor. When we got to the helmet of salvation I couldn't help but think of "battle helmet." I mean, after all, where else do you wear any kind of helmet other than in battle? In the context of armor, that is.
"Battle helmet, battle helmet," I thought. The thought was like a mouse with a lit dynamite stick tied to its tail, scurrying around in my mind seeking safety. And then it hit me: "I looooove armadillo hide! / Makes my battle helmet fit me just-a right!"
The helmet of salvation made out of armadillo hide? I hardly doubt that's what Paul was thinking when he wrote his letter to the Ephesians, but what if...?
In the cadence, the sailor is running along on his mission. He comes across a threat - an armadillo - let's say a rabid armadillo because I don't think armadillos are particularly menacing (and probably not actually found in the jungle), but I digress.
Or maybe the armadillo isn't exactly a threat, but still an obstacle. So the sailor says, "Armadillo, armadillo, you better move, / before I make a battle helmet out of you!" Clearly the sailor is without a helmet of his own and in need of one seeing as he is on a dangerous mission running through the jungle. So instead of quailing at the first sign of resistance, as innocuous as an armadillo could be (unless it's rabid), the sailor soldiers on and takes that obstacle and makes it an asset; what was once threatening to impede his mission is now helping him.
And ain't the spiritual journey of faith just like that? Are not the trials and temptations we face meant to test us and make us stronger? Do those trials and temptations then not become assets to us? We have the experience of getting burned by sin, by pain, by loss but we conquer those trials - by the grace of God - and we are more than conquerors because what once was a threat is not merely removed, it is re-formed into aiding us!
As we are strengthened by the testing of our faith, does that not strengthen our assurance in our salvation in Jesus Christ? So doesn't that old armadillo, in a sense, become a helmet that assures us of our salvation?
What if that's what it's like? We are in a spiritual battle; what if the armor is supplied to us from our Lord via on-site procurement?
Just a thought....