An Aussie Nurse at War

The night sky was bright with flames. Bombs fell just behind the trenches, shattering the buildings and setting tents alight. As the raid continued, four nurses dashed in and out of the attack zone, rescuing their patients and carrying them to safety or placing tables over the wounded in an effort to protect them. One of these nurses was Alice Ross-King, a young theatre sister from Ballarat who, even in her twenties, had been in charge of a private hospital in Melbourne. Enlisting not long after the outbreak of war, she had been excited at the prospect of travelling overseas and enjoying the company of the young men deployed in the ANZAC forces. But the playful fun of the voyage to Egypt quickly turned to grim shock when soldiers began to be evacuated from Gallipoli and Alice was confronted with their terrible wounds.

Her great-granddaughter says of that time: ‘They had hundreds of people coming in, they didn’t have beds for them, they had to turn an ice-skating rink at the local amusement park into this makeshift hospital, and they were just completely overwhelmed.’

It was in Cairo that Alice met Harry—and fell deeply in love. But despite surviving the horrors of Gallipoli, Harry was killed on the Western Front during a battle in France. It was also on the Western Front on the summer night of 22 July 1917 that Alice experienced that devastating German air raid near Armentières—made famous by the popular and catchy soldier’s song, Mademoiselle from Armentières. The four nurses who so courageously risked their lives to save their patients became the first members of the Australian Army Nursing Service to be awarded Military Medals.

Throughout her life, Alice maintained a deep Christian faith—a faith renewed in the crucible of war, even as she struggled to reconcile the horrors of war with her beliefs.

Eventually, on her return to Australia at the war’s end, she became involved in training volunteers to assist as medical aides. When the Second World War broke out, this organisation developed into the Australian Army Women’s Medical Services and Alice was commissioned as a major and appointed senior assistant controller for Victoria. After this war, in 1949, she was awarded the Florence Nightingale medal by the International Red Cross.

Throughout her life, Alice maintained a deep Christian faith—a faith renewed in the crucible of war, even as she struggled to reconcile the horrors of war with her beliefs. Her doubts were recorded in her diary, according to her great-granddaughter, Kate Simpson: ‘Towards the back end of the war you can see from her diaries how deeply shaken she was. The Germans on their belt buckle had in German, Gott mit uns which means God is with us. And seeing them come in with that, when her Padre, the chaplain, was telling her that God was on their side, and that right was going to prevail, she just found that so difficult to deal with.’

God does not promise us easy answers in life. He doesn’t promise us an easy life either. But He does promise us strength for the day, if we turn to Him in the midst of trouble. This is what Alice Ross-King, the most-decorated female ANZAC of all, found when she placed her trust in Him.

 

Back Off: 1

‘Judge nothing before the appointed time.’ 1 Corinthians 4:5

Judging others is like breathing—it comes naturally. And sometimes the worst critics are Christians who use Scripture as their weapon of choice. So if you’re the one being judged, try to remember these four things:

(1) Show humility. If you’re guilty, admit it to God, yourself, and the appropriate others. Confession brings honesty and spiritual growth (see 1 John 1:9).

(2) Know your Bible. Satan took Scriptures out of context to try to trap Jesus, but Jesus knew the context so He didn’t fall for it (see Luke 4:1–13). When the Bible is taken out of context, remember God isn’t aiming at you. And when you’re rightly judged by God’s Word, don’t despair; it doesn’t mean He’s mad at you. He loves you—and that means He disciplines you and uses ‘teaching moments’ to develop you. ‘The Lord disciplines the one He loves, and… chastens everyone He accepts as His son.’ (Hebrews 12:6 NIV)

(3) Don’t be provoked into trying to defend yourself. Judgmental people aren’t interested in facts—they just want to feel good by making you feel bad. Pick your battles wisely, and don’t waste time on the unimportant. Here’s how Paul responded to his critics: ‘I care very little if I am judged by you or… any human court.’ (1 Corinthians 4:3 NIV)

(4) Don’t volunteer for the jury. If God doesn’t find you guilty, don’t judge yourself. Follow Paul’s example: ‘Indeed, I do not even judge myself.’ (1 Corinthians 4:3 NIV) If you’re wrong, confess it, and by God’s grace correct it. Then make up your mind to live your life free from condemnation.

SoulFood: Num 1–2, Mark 4:13–25, Ps 144:1–8, Pr 10:19–21

word4today an adaptation of The Word For Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright © 2021

Today’s Readings

Numbers 1–2

1:1 The LORD spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the tent of meeting, on the first day of the second month, in the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying, “Take a census of all the congregation of the people of Israel, by clans, by fathers’ houses, according to the number of names, every male, head by head. From twenty years old and upward, all in Israel who are able to go to war, you and Aaron shall list them, company by company. And there shall be with you a man from each tribe, each man being the head of the house of his fathers. And these are the names of the men who shall assist you. From Reuben, Elizur the son of Shedeur; from Simeon, Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai; from Judah, Nahshon the son of Amminadab; from Issachar, Nethanel the son of Zuar; from Zebulun, Eliab the son of Helon; 10 from the sons of Joseph, from Ephraim, Elishama the son of Ammihud, and from Manasseh, Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur; 11 from Benjamin, Abidan the son of Gideoni; 12 from Dan, Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai; 13 from Asher, Pagiel the son of Ochran; 14 from Gad, Eliasaph the son of Deuel; 15 from Naphtali, Ahira the son of Enan.” 16 These were the ones chosen from the congregation, the chiefs of their ancestral tribes, the heads of the clans of Israel.

17 Moses and Aaron took these men who had been named, 18 and on the first day of the second month, they assembled the whole congregation together, who registered themselves by clans, by fathers’ houses, according to the number of names from twenty years old and upward, head by head, 19 as the LORD commanded Moses. So he listed them in the wilderness of Sinai.

20 The people of Reuben, Israel’s firstborn, their generations, by their clans, by their fathers’ houses, according to the number of names, head by head, every male from twenty years old and upward, all who were able to go to war: 21 those listed of the tribe of Reuben were 46,500.

22 Of the people of Simeon, their generations, by their clans, by their fathers’ houses, those of them who were listed, according to the number of names, head by head, every male from twenty years old and upward, all who were able to go to war: 23 those listed of the tribe of Simeon were 59,300.

24 Of the people of Gad, their generations, by their clans, by their fathers’ houses, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all who were able to go to war: 25 those listed of the tribe of Gad were 45,650.

26 Of the people of Judah, their generations, by their clans, by their fathers’ houses, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, every man able to go to war: 27 those listed of the tribe of Judah were 74,600.

28 Of the people of Issachar, their generations, by their clans, by their fathers’ houses, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, every man able to go to war: 29 those listed of the tribe of Issachar were 54,400.

30 Of the people of Zebulun, their generations, by their clans, by their fathers’ houses, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, every man able to go to war: 31 those listed of the tribe of Zebulun were 57,400.

32 Of the people of Joseph, namely, of the people of Ephraim, their generations, by their clans, by their fathers’ houses, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, every man able to go to war: 33 those listed of the tribe of Ephraim were 40,500.

34 Of the people of Manasseh, their generations, by their clans, by their fathers’ houses, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, every man able to go to war: 35 those listed of the tribe of Manasseh were 32,200.

36 Of the people of Benjamin, their generations, by their clans, by their fathers’ houses, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, every man able to go to war: 37 those listed of the tribe of Benjamin were 35,400.

38 Of the people of Dan, their generations, by their clans, by their fathers’ houses, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, every man able to go to war: 39 those listed of the tribe of Dan were 62,700.

40 Of the people of Asher, their generations, by their clans, by their fathers’ houses, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, every man able to go to war: 41 those listed of the tribe of Asher were 41,500.

42 Of the people of Naphtali, their generations, by their clans, by their fathers’ houses, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, every man able to go to war: 43 those listed of the tribe of Naphtali were 53,400.

44 These are those who were listed, whom Moses and Aaron listed with the help of the chiefs of Israel, twelve men, each representing his fathers’ house. 45 So all those listed of the people of Israel, by their fathers’ houses, from twenty years old and upward, every man able to go to war in Israel—46 all those listed were 603,550.

47 But the Levites were not listed along with them by their ancestral tribe. 48 For the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 49 “Only the tribe of Levi you shall not list, and you shall not take a census of them among the people of Israel. 50 But appoint the Levites over the tabernacle of the testimony, and over all its furnishings, and over all that belongs to it. They are to carry the tabernacle and all its furnishings, and they shall take care of it and shall camp around the tabernacle. 51 When the tabernacle is to set out, the Levites shall take it down, and when the tabernacle is to be pitched, the Levites shall set it up. And if any outsider comes near, he shall be put to death. 52 The people of Israel shall pitch their tents by their companies, each man in his own camp and each man by his own standard. 53 But the Levites shall camp around the tabernacle of the testimony, so that there may be no wrath on the congregation of the people of Israel. And the Levites shall keep guard over the tabernacle of the testimony.” 54 Thus did the people of Israel; they did according to all that the LORD commanded Moses.

2:1 The LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, “The people of Israel shall camp each by his own standard, with the banners of their fathers’ houses. They shall camp facing the tent of meeting on every side. Those to camp on the east side toward the sunrise shall be of the standard of the camp of Judah by their companies, the chief of the people of Judah being Nahshon the son of Amminadab, his company as listed being 74,600. Those to camp next to him shall be the tribe of Issachar, the chief of the people of Issachar being Nethanel the son of Zuar, his company as listed being 54,400. Then the tribe of Zebulun, the chief of the people of Zebulun being Eliab the son of Helon, his company as listed being 57,400. All those listed of the camp of Judah, by their companies, were 186,400. They shall set out first on the march.

10 “On the south side shall be the standard of the camp of Reuben by their companies, the chief of the people of Reuben being Elizur the son of Shedeur, 11 his company as listed being 46,500. 12 And those to camp next to him shall be the tribe of Simeon, the chief of the people of Simeon being Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai, 13 his company as listed being 59,300. 14 Then the tribe of Gad, the chief of the people of Gad being Eliasaph the son of Reuel, 15 his company as listed being 45,650. 16 All those listed of the camp of Reuben, by their companies, were 151,450. They shall set out second.

17 “Then the tent of meeting shall set out, with the camp of the Levites in the midst of the camps; as they camp, so shall they set out, each in position, standard by standard.

18 “On the west side shall be the standard of the camp of Ephraim by their companies, the chief of the people of Ephraim being Elishama the son of Ammihud, 19 his company as listed being 40,500. 20 And next to him shall be the tribe of Manasseh, the chief of the people of Manasseh being Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur, 21 his company as listed being 32,200. 22 Then the tribe of Benjamin, the chief of the people of Benjamin being Abidan the son of Gideoni, 23 his company as listed being 35,400. 24 All those listed of the camp of Ephraim, by their companies, were 108,100. They shall set out third on the march.

25 “On the north side shall be the standard of the camp of Dan by their companies, the chief of the people of Dan being Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai, 26 his company as listed being 62,700. 27 And those to camp next to him shall be the tribe of Asher, the chief of the people of Asher being Pagiel the son of Ochran, 28 his company as listed being 41,500. 29 Then the tribe of Naphtali, the chief of the people of Naphtali being Ahira the son of Enan, 30 his company as listed being 53,400. 31 All those listed of the camp of Dan were 157,600. They shall set out last, standard by standard.”

32 These are the people of Israel as listed by their fathers’ houses. All those listed in the camps by their companies were 603,550. 33 But the Levites were not listed among the people of Israel, as the LORD commanded Moses.

34 Thus did the people of Israel. According to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so they camped by their standards, and so they set out, each one in his clan, according to his fathers’ house.

Mark 4:13–25

13 And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? 14 The sower sows the word. 15 And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. 16 And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy. 17 And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away. 18 And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, 19 but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 20 But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”

21 And he said to them, “Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket, or under a bed, and not on a stand? 22 For nothing is hidden except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret except to come to light. 23 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” 24 And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you. 25 For to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”

Psalm 144:1–8

Of David.

144:1   Blessed be the LORD, my rock,
    who trains my hands for war,
    and my fingers for battle;
  he is my steadfast love and my fortress,
    my stronghold and my deliverer,
  my shield and he in whom I take refuge,
    who subdues peoples under me.
  O LORD, what is man that you regard him,
    or the son of man that you think of him?
  Man is like a breath;
    his days are like a passing shadow.
  Bow your heavens, O LORD, and come down!
    Touch the mountains so that they smoke!
  Flash forth the lightning and scatter them;
    send out your arrows and rout them!
  Stretch out your hand from on high;
    rescue me and deliver me from the many waters,
    from the hand of foreigners,
  whose mouths speak lies
    and whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood.

Proverbs 10:19–21

19   When words are many, transgression is not lacking,
    but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.
20   The tongue of the righteous is choice silver;
    the heart of the wicked is of little worth.
21   The lips of the righteous feed many,
    but fools die for lack of sense.

Sat 24 April, 2021


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