[This appeared first at LifeChurchNC.com]
November 11, 2016
For several years now there has been a framed letter we have proudly displayed in our livingroom. While neither the frame nor the piece of paper contained inside are of much value themselves, it is what the letter symbolizes that is of significance to us as a family. The frame contains a copy of an actual letter that was received by Molly’s grandfather while serving in World War II in battle-torn Europe. The letter was written by then American General, Dwight D. Eisenhower, as an encouragement to American and Allied forces in Europe who were in the middle of a feirce war with an enemy that was tyrannic, “well trained, well equipped and battle-hardened.” On the back is a handwritten note by Molly’s grandfather, recalling many years later how he initially felt when he received the letter: “Eisenhower was rallying us…that we were good soldiers and we were ready to do a job that nobody wanted to do but was very much needed.”
On this Veteran’s Day, I hope you will take some time to read this letter for yourself.
This piece of history displayed in my livingroom serves as a humbling and overwhelming reminder for us. It is a reminder of all that was lost as a result of this horrible war. It serves as an unsettling reminder of all of the attrocities that were carried out against human beings, people created in the image and likeness of God, through things like the holocaust. It is a chilling reminder of the 60 million deaths that occured worldwide as a result of this one war, including the hundres of thousands of American troops who would never return from this mission. And yet, despite all of the horrible things it represents, it is also a beautiful reminder of all that was won.
It is such reminders like these that should stir a great sense of gratitude in all of us, which is why we observe Veteran’s Day.
This past weekend we had an opportunity to recognize and honor our veterans, along with men and women who are actively serving in one of the branches of our nation’s Armed Forces. Such a recognition and a thank you from the stage seems incredibly inadequate in light of the sacrifices and selflessness represented in the room, which is a representation of millions of others who have faithfully and sacrificially served in similar capacities, many of whom have paid the ultimate sacrifice.
As we spend some time reflecting this Veteran’s Day, it certainly comes with the realization that many things in our country, the world, and right here in our community are far from ideal. And yet, at the same time, there is so much good around us to thank our heavenly Father for, namely our freedom. Freedom is something we not only enjoy as American’s, it is the essence of the life we have been given in Christ. And it is because of this freedom and the Victorious King whom we serve that we have been called and commissioned into our community and our world to fight for the freedom of hearts that are held in captivity by the kingdom of darkness.
Despite all of the mess around us, there is still so much beauty to behold. Give thanks today that you have been privileged to experience the life and liberty that has been fought for and preserved on your behalf. Give thanks for the America we get to enjoy.
But count it an even greater privilege that you are part of an advancing Kingdom where love, peace, joy and freedom reign for eternity because of the sacrificial death and the victorious resurrection of Jesus!
Thank you, Veterans! We love you and appreciate you immensely!