I heard this story about a soldier in the North Africa Campaign in World War II first in a sermon and later I found it while searching online for an illustration. I haven’t verified it but the truth it illustrates is true whether the events of the story actually happened or not. The story goes like this:
After a fierce battle the soldier returned to camp and went to the base chapel for the church service the Chaplain held on Sunday. During the service the Chaplain asked the men to take out their Bibles and read the Scripture with him. Most did but this soldier instead appeared to be playing cards during the Scripture reading. After the service the Chaplain asked him why he was playing cards and not following the Scripture reading.
The young soldier told the Chaplain that during the battle, he did not have a Bible so he used his deck of cards as his bible. He explained:
“You see, Sir, when I look at the ACE, it tells me that there is one GOD and no other.
When I see the “2,” it reminds me that there are two parts the Bible, the OLD TESTAMENT and the NEW TESTAMENT.
The “3” tells me of the TRINITY OF GOD THE FATHER, GOD THE SON and GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT.
The “4” reminds me of the FOUR GOSPELS, MATTHEW, MARK, LUKE and JOHN.
When I see the “5,” it tells me of the FIVE UNWISE VIRGINS who were lost and that five were saved.
The “6” makes me mindful that GOD CREATED THE EARTH IN JUST SIX DAYS, and GOD said that it was good.
When I see the “7,” it reminds me that GOD RESTED ON THE SEVENTH DAY.
As I look at the “8,” it reminds me that GOD DESTROYED ALL HUMAN LIFE BY WATER EXCEPT FOR EIGHT PEOPLE, Noah, his wife, their three sons, and their three son’s wives.
When I see the “9,” I think of the NINE LEPERS that GOD healed. There were ten lepers in all, but only one stopped to thank him.
The “10” reminds me of the TEN COMMANDMENTS carved in stone by the hand of GOD.
The “JACK” makes me remember the Prince of Darkness. Like a roaring lion, he devours those that he can.
When I look at the “QUEEN,” I see THE CHURCH, THE BRIDE OF JESUS.
As I look at the “KING,” it reminds me that JESUS IS LORD OF LORDS and KING OF KINGS.”
There are 365 spots on a deck of cards, and that is the number of days in each year.
There are 52 cards to a deck and that is the number of weeks in a year.
There are 12 picture cards and that is the number of months in a year.
There are 4 different suits in a deck and that is the number of seasons in a year…
And so, the young soldier then said to the Chaplain, “You see, Sir, my intentions were honorable. My deck of cards reminds me that I need JESUS 365 days, 52 weeks and 12 months a year.”
Ever since I first heard this story I never look at a deck of cards without thinking of Jesus!
I think this is a great illustration of applying Godly attributes and symbolism to a common everyday object! This story paints the picture of a man who used what he had available to remind him of how great God is! Since we have Bibles, we have full and complete access to God’s love letter to us! But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t see God in His creation and the things around us as well.
What in your life helps you to picture God? A majestic mountain scene? Powerful waves crashing onto the rugged cliffs? A newborn baby being held gently by its mother? I love watching the birds on our deck and remembering the words of Jesus about the Father’s care for the birds of the field.
Each of us learns in different ways and different ideas impact us. The things we see and feel each day can show us God, if we just open our eyes! I pray that we will see God’s majesty and work in the world around us and that He would be clearly visibly in our lives.
Sometimes a deck of cards is all it takes to remind us of our gracious Lord.