My Body Armor

I was suiting up for another day at the office. Unfortunately, this office was going to be flying about 50 feet above the Iraqi desert and dropping me off into some inhospitable terrain. So I paid a lot of attention to what I was putting on.

My main piece of kit, besides my weapons, was my body armor. Body armor consisted of a plate carrier (the durable nylon structure), front and back ballistic “bulletproof” plates, and to it, attached the myriad equipment I would need for my mission: magazines of ammunition for my rifle and sidearm, a first aid pouch, glow sticks, IR strobe, radio and antenna, a kit bag of various odds and ends (including a stash of ‘dubble bubble’), and a camelbak filled with water. All securely strapped to my body and easily accessible at all times.

My body armor was my personal safety net and one-man band: it provided me with just about everything, it was my last line of defense against the enemy and I wouldn’t go anywhere in enemy territory without it. I’d heard stories of guys taking multiple small arms rounds to their plates and getting up with little more than bruises to show for it. I was happy to shoulder the extra weight that came with that kind of security.

But as I was putting on my ungainly body armor that night, I saw a small tag inside that I hadn’t noticed before: It read “Paraclete,” which was the brand name of the manufacturer. Something seemed familiar so I made a mental note but continued gearing up.

It was months later, in our little plywood chapel on the compound, that I ran across this word again: Parakletos, which was Greek for comforter, or helper; and what New Testament translators would attribute to the Holy Spirit.

Then it clicked.
Parakletos

That’s The Comforter I’m Talking About

Now, before this, when I read that the Holy Spirit was our comforter–my mental image was a big fluffy bedspread that encased us in a soft, warm glow that consoled us when Jesus wasn’t around. I’d cuddle up in the fetal position and enjoy being wrapped in my Comforter.

But after reading Comforter on my body armor, my concept of the Holy Spirit changed. I now saw it as the last line of defense in contested territory; that would take the flaming arrows and 7.62mm rounds of the enemy and allow me to keep on fighting for the Kingdom of Christ. It was something that I could build up, use to carry other equipment, for use in action.

What Kind of Comforter Are You Looking For?

What is the Holy Spirit to you? Is He the forgotten third of the trinity? Is He the 4th-quarter backup quarterback that doesn’t really make an impact on anything or anyone? Is He a cozy aura that Jesus left behind as he floated gently into the clouds, dressed in his flowing robes? Or He is a shield, closer than a brother, that protects you and gives you confidence to boldly stride into the darkness?

  • Tiff H

    Dave! I have been looking for this Greek word for the Holy Spirit for awhile–never very intentionally, and always when I was in awkward places not near internet (eg roadtrips, and in CA it’s a fatty ticket to be on your phone in the car… which ALWAYS stops me). Anyway, I love that THIS is the word used for Holy Spirit–a warrior whose comfort is not soft and cushy, but is fierce and reliable in all circumstances and battles.

  • Thanks Tiff… it’s my own little take on “helper”–> my shield and defender!

  • Great illustration, Dave. He is our protector and our counselor when we have felt unprotected. He covers us coming and going.

  • Thanks Seth… I think this post has resonated with a lot of people because we don’t really have any mental image of the Holy Spirit like we do Christ and the Father… this helps put the HS in perspective for me.