I was 20 years old when I joined the Army. I had no idea what I was getting myself into or what my future would hold. The triumph and loss, the thrills and heartaches; filled with dreams and aspirations I set off to serve my country confident of the beginning and unsure of the end. I had no idea what was truly in store for me, but it turns out I was in good company.
God loves His people. Speaking to the prophet Isaiah almost 1500 years ago, God explained that He had a great desire to save His people from oppression and bondage. In Isaiah 6:8 the Lord laments, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Like the brave men and women of the US Armed Forces, Isaiah was quick to respond, “Here I am Lord, send me.” Isaiah knew he wasn’t up to the task on his own, for he was a “person of unclean lips, from a people of unclean lips…” (Isaiah 6:5). But with the Lord’s help, Isaiah boldly stepped out into the unknown in a herculean effort to rescue his countrymen.
When Isaiah uttered the words “Here I am Lord, send me,” he implicitly agreed to go anywhere and do anything that was required to bring about the reconciliation and salvation of his countrymen. Like Abraham, who left his ancestral homeland to follow the Lord to an unknown place, the defense and salvation of a people and nation often requires far away lands and great sacrifice.
Like the prophets of old, many modern warriors have given the best years of their lives, some their entire lifetime, and many have paid the ultimate price in sacrifice for the freedom of their nation and its people. In addition to the scars of memory and the pain of experience, many warriors continue to carry the reminders of their willingness to sacrifice for a cause far greater than one’s self. For warriors past and present it is safe to say, all gave some and some gave all.
When I see my brothers and sisters in uniform I am reminded of a quote from Orson Wells, “People sleep peaceably in their beds at night because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.” When these brave men and women raised their right hand, they all agreed to give something, possibly everything, to the cause of freedom and to ensure our families and loved ones could sleep soundly at night.
If you’re a warrior or former warrior you know the pain of sacrifice and loss. Rare is the one who cannot count a number of friends, teammates, and acquaintances who paid the ultimate price and gave literally everything they had to keep our country free. As we approach Memorial Day, I hope you will take a moment to reflect on the high privilege of freedom, the great cost to secure it, and the impact of the lives given in defense of Liberty. I also hope you will take advantage of that liberty to worship openly and freely. This is a great nation because great men and women have dared boldly and given abundantly to secure her freedom and ensure her liberty. The best way to honor that sacrifice is to exercise our liberty and take it not for granted.
Peace, liberty, and freedom here on earth are temporary and fleeting, but through the death and sacrifice of Jesus Christ we are offered everlasting fellowship with God and the ultimate freedom from death and bondage. One day our nation may pass away, but the Kingdom of God will remain forever. Only through Jesus can our work and sacrifice here on earth have eternal impact. If we choose to live our lives with a Christ-centered focus on the things of eternity we will infinitely multiply the effects of all we do here on earth. Being a warrior for your country is a noble task, but being a warrior for the kingdom of God has a far greater impact and reward.