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I Don’t Choose War as a Solution!
I am opposed to war. Jesus made it clear there were better ways of settling differences. However, He did not move to shut down the operations of those who made war. He simply loved them.
I don’t like war. But I love veterans!
I Have Close Ties with Those Who Have Served.
I am very familiar with the military. I was an army officer’s wife at one time. I lived in an area of Germany, where we had regular drills of what would happen if we were attacked.
I later was a “waiting wife” along with other wives who hoped and prayed to see their husbands again. Our husbands were in Viet Nam. I grieved with many who left the group after they learned their husbands would not be back.
I wore an MIA bracelet for two years with the name of a man who was finally identified, but not alive.
And I worked for 30 years as a Nurse at the VA Medical Center. I cared for those who had served in the military. I cared for those who gave.
What They Gave
They gave up the right to choose where they would live or for how long.
They gave up the right to say, “I’d like to think about that order. I’ll get back with you.”
They gave up the privilege of being with their families. Sometimes babies were born and had already taken their first steps before their fathers got to meet them.
They learned way too much about death. Sometimes they had to leave their best buddies in the field, never even knowing if they would ever get a proper burial.
They learned how to feel fear and not show it. They learned bravery was sometimes just the ability to continue to put one foot in front of the other and think of the mission instead of the mental or physical pain.
And some gave up the ability to put one foot in front of the other, because their feet were gone. Some literally left pieces of themselves behind.
Some gave more than parts of their bodies. Some gave all. They gave their lives fighting for something they believed in. They were willing to give up their own lives, if it meant that someone else might get to keep their life and enjoy it in freedom.
Some who returned told me, they would have chosen death if they had known the replay of battle would never stop. While others were able to enjoy the celebrations of July 4th, they could never hear fireworks quite the same again. They heard it as “incoming.” In fact, someone unexpectedly dropping something could quickly pull them back into battle with memories so vivid their minds and bodies reacted as if it were happening all over again.
I heard so many stories I could have filled many books. The stories were all different and yet somehow alike. My father in law was in the military. He served in both World War II and the Korean conflict (another name for war). He was badly injured, but survived and returned to the front lines. I still smile when I recall his explanation of how he got his purple heart. He said simply, “I zigged when I should have zagged!”
LESSONS FROM JESUS ABOUT AUTHORITY
My husband and I have had many spirited conversations about how to achieve peace in a world that has become so accustomed to war. Such conversations have resulted in my looking closer at Jesus’ connection with the military.
My husband points out to me Jesus never told the Centurion who came to Him to get another job. In fact, Jesus told him he was an excellent example of faith.
The Centurion recognized the One in Authority. He came to Jesus in humility with his request. He asked Jesus to heal his suffering servant, who was at home.
It is interesting Jesus asked the Centurion, “Shall I come and heal him?”
It almost seems Jesus was fishing to see what this man’s level of faith was. If Jesus had asked you, what would you have said? Not only did the Centurion recognize the Source of Authority, but he recognized the Extent of Jesus’ Authority.
The Centurion replied,
“I do not deserve to have You come under my roof.
But just say The Word and my servant will be healed.
For I myself am a man under authority,
with soldiers under me.
I tell this one, ‘Go’ and he goes;
I tell that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes.
I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
When Jesus heard this, He was amazed
and said to those following Him,
“Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel
with such GREAT Faith …”
Verse 13 records,
Then Jesus said to the Centurion,
“Go! Let it be done as you believed it would!”
And his servant was healed at that moment!
LESSONS FROM JESUS ABOUT ASSIGNMENTS
When Jesus called each of the disciples, He simply gave the order to follow Him and they did. They had to leave their families. They did not get to choose their assignments or the length of assignment. They did not get to choose with whom they would work. A tax collector worked with a fisherman!
Whether they recognized it or not, they were entering basic training. There were demonstrations and time for them to return demonstrate. As they learned, they were promoted to greater responsibilities.
When they messed up, Jesus rebuked them and set them straight.
LESSONS FROM JESUS ABOUT QUITTERS
Sometimes after we join a good cause, we find that it is far more than what we expected. We may want to “un-join.” If this Christian life is not as cushy as you thought it would be, and you want to back out, hear Jesus’ Response.
“No one who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is fit for service in the Kingdom of God.”
LESSONS FROM JESUS ABOUT THE PRIORITY OF THE MISSION
What if we can think of a really good reason to at least take some time off? Wouldn’t Jesus be ok with that? One guy thought he had a pretty good reason. He just wanted some bereavement leave. What did Jesus say about that?
Jesus said to him,
“Let the dead bury their own dead,
but you go and proclaim the Kingdom of God!”
JESUS THE COMMANDER
Sometimes it is easy to think of Jesus like someone from the 60s Love-In days. He talked about Love a lot. However, He was not just making suggestions or giving motivational speeches. He was giving Commands! He didn’t just say, “Hey, I want you guys to get along.” No, He said,
“A New COMMAND I give you:
Love one another. As I have loved you,
so you MUST love one another.”
He had demonstrated how to love. Now He expected it from His Troops. Do it!
LESSONS FROM JESUS ABOUT FOLLOWING ORDERS
As recorded in John 14:15, Jesus said,
“If you love Me, keep My Commands!”
Love and Trust go hand in hand. One of my favorite verses is recorded in Jeremiah 29.
“For I know The Plans I have for you,”
declares The Lord,
“Plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
Plans to give you Hope and a Future.”
Notice: He knows The Plans. No where does this verse say He will tell us all the details of Those Plans.
If you trust your Commander, then you can instantly do what He asks, even if you don’t understand it. In the heat of battle, there is no time for discussion. Every soldier has to do what he is told instantly.
Jesus expects instant obedience. You will notice in His Interactions with the Centurion, He demonstrated that He Himself would respond instantly.
LESSONS FROM JESUS ABOUT LOYALTY
Jesus expects complete loyalty. He will not allow His Troops to check out the other side or defect. He very bluntly told it the way it is.
“Whoever is not with Me is against Me,
and whoever does not gather with me, scatters.”
LESSONS FROM JESUS ABOUT PAYING THE ULTIMATE PRICE
As recorded in John 15:13, Jesus told His Followers,
“Greater Love has no one than this:
to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
And Jesus, the Commander in Chief, fully demonstrated that Love!
JESUS’ GIFT TO THE SOLDIERS
When the soldiers began to whip Jesus, they had no idea they were unwrapping a Gift. Jesus’ Blood flowed freely through the ordeal of the torture and crucifixion. It very likely anointed those He was to ask His Father to forgive.
How interesting that Jesus would give His Blood first of all to the soldiers. Perhaps He was remembering that Centurion, who had Great Faith and He was seeing the possibilities among the soldiers there with Him at the cross. Jesus’ Faith was not misplaced. Mark 15:39 records,
And when the Centurion,
who stood there in front of Jesus saw how He died,
“Surely this man was the Son of God!”
This blog posting is dedicated to all of us who are in basic training with Our Lord. May we march forth together and conquer the darkness in the world with His Light!