"HIS EVERLASTING ARMS: THEY WERE INVISIBLY SURROUNDING ME" by Sam RuddTrust in the Lord God always, for in the Lord Jehovah is your everlasting strength.
(In WW2, I was in the AF in Europe and my brother, only 17 at enlistment in the USMC was in the Pacific
and survived, by the Grace of God, among the many with him that were killed.)
Below is the story of Sam Rudd which I obtained many years ago when I was with the Full Gospel Business Men.
Sam Rudd was from Florida. This was his testimony. . . . .
With General Patton as told by Sam Rudd
In July 1944 our outfit waded ashore on Omaha Beach, in France. We could hear the big guns roaring, and learned
that our forces had pushed only fifteen to eighteen miles inland.
Although we had spent many months under exceptionally strenuous training in the States with the 89th Infantry Division,
maneuvered with armored divisions in Louisiana and California, marched twenty to thirty miles a day, rehearsed in simulated
combat – this was different. This was for real!
The old 89th had been broken up and the combat-ready soldiers sent to various sections of the country for immediate
transfer overseas. Ours was a light infantry experimental division, and we had felt so proud to have been declared combat-ready.
All of a sudden we realized we had yet to meet the greatest test of all, face to face with the enemy. This was no simulated
warfare. The boom of the big guns very effectively conveyed to us the fact that death waited just over the next ridge. I didn't
want to die. I wanted very much to be a good soldier and fight for all the things my heart held dear; but I knew immediately
that unless God undertook in my behalf, in all probability my future life would be very short – perhaps not long enough to
actually reach the front.
When about thirteen years of age, I had found Christ as my personal Saviour. For approximately three years I enjoyed
a wonderfully close walk with Him. It was during the joyous period the Lord had visited me three times in visions. How I
could ever have forgotten those blessed years, I do not know; but when I was seventeen I began to keep the wrong
company and gradually my Christian experience faded. Now I realized God was my only source of help. I knew my mother
back home was praying for me: but also realized that I personally must approach the Throne of Grace for salvation, and
rededicate my heart and life.
By late evening we had marched within hearing distance of the rattle of machine guns as they flung swift death at the
enemy. My platoon was ordered to dig in along the top of a 15-foot embankment through which a road had been cut.
Settling down into my foxhole that night, I wondered if God would remember me and give me another chance.
The military road lay just below us. We heard an army jeep approaching. Suddenly there was a tremendous explosion
as a land mine blew the jeep upside down and thrust the two soldiers in it out into eternity. One of them landed next to my
Needless to say, I was scared. Apparently death was nearer even than I thought. As I looked at that soldier’s lifeless body,
tears stung my eyelids. He would never see home again on this earth. For him, it was over! He was young. His life had been
snatched from him so quickly. Was he ready to meet his God?
A thousand questions raced through my mind as I fought back the tears. Would I ever see home again? If I did, would it
be with a whole body, or would part of it be left on the battlefield?
Huddled there in my foxhole I buried my head in my arms and prayed: “O God, in Jesus’ name, please help me! Have
mercy upon my soul and save it. I do love you, Jesus, and I come to you as my only source of help.” As I continued to pour
out my heart to God, a great peace and serenity, unknown to me since I had departed a daily walk with Him, came again to
my heart. Though the night was full of the sounds of battle, I knew within my heart the peace that passes understanding.
In His tender mercy God had reclaimed this backslider: and I had found that He will keep our hearts in perfect peace even
in the midst of war.
Early the next morning a one-and-a-half-ton army truck came up the same road that passed below us. It, too, struck
a mine. Terribly shattered bodies were thrown about like matchsticks. We were ordered forward and in a matter of hours
we were relieving what was left of the 29th Infantry Division. Some of the dead still lay out there because our men were
so pinned down by enemy fire it was impossible as yet to reach them. The sight didn’t add to our morale.
Life seemed too cheap, too fleeting. There was no shelter – no “city of refuge” away out here where the shrapnel whined
and the heavy guns belched death. Jesus was my only refuge at that moment.
No need to leave my post to find His everlasting arms. They were invisibly surrounding me. For ten days the holocaust
continued, almost without surcease.
Thinking of it now, I wonder how the human body could withstand the force of million bursting shells – how the eardrums
could endure it – how the brain could continue to function and not blank out under the ceaseless, pitiless beating. It was
ten days of hell on earth, but somehow God sustained me. At last St. Lo fell to the allies: but by then the enemy was well dug
in on the other side. Both sides lived in constant fear of the other attacking. The situation was so tense and dangerous we
dared not move from our foxholes, even to bury our dead.
Finally we were given orders to attack. “God go with me!” I whispered as we all obeyed the command to move out.
After several days of hard fighting and tremendous air support, we finally captured St. Lo, and I thanked God for having
brought me thus far by faith.
My battalion was immediately assigned to General Patton’s famous 4th Armored Division. Our job was to ride the tanks
into battle, jump off and wipe out the opposition. This was Patton’s way of keeping the enemy on the run. It was very effective,
but we were also “sitting ducks” for the German machine guns. During the next four months much of my company was
replaced several times.
There were many days when our personnel was down to 60 or 70 remaining out of 210. Replacements poured into our
group. One day that I recall vividly there were only 27 of us left by evening. All the time we were going about the grim business
of war, my heart was crying out to the Lord to cover me with the precious blood and shield me with His protecting, power.
God was so precious during those days, when life hung by a thread. I gained much help and strength from reading the
Psalms whenever time permitted. God dealt with my heart. His angels walked with me and protected me. He shielded me
with His power. On four specific occasions He spoke to me in a voice that was audible to my heart, which when I obeyed
instantly, my life was spared. Once the lives of ten of my men were spared because they moved quickly with me when I heard
the voice of God and obeyed. Our Lord does protect and guides His children!
Make no mistake, we were in the thick of battle! I was awarded five battle stars and the Purple Heart for the combat action
in which I took part. Practically all my original buddies lie buried beneath the soil of France. To God be all the glory for sparing
my life. By His grace I am alive to give this testimony, serving God and encouraging others to put Him first in their lives.
Perhaps God looked down through the years ahead and knew that my life was irrevocably dedicated to Him and to His service
and His work on this earth.
Yours in Christ,
Paul N. F.