Friday, September 08, 2006

Tried, Tested and True

John 15:13 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society
13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

I was watching a CBC documentary that I'd bought recently, on the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands. One by one, veterans shared their memories of those years, their eyes filling with tears as they remembered comrades who fell on the battlefield. I found myself scrambling for a pen to write down some of the things these heroes said. I saw a spiritual relevance and challenge in their words.

One old soldier said, "We never left anyone behind." These men who fought together and knew that they might die together, had a bond of brotherhood that few of us in peace time can comprehend. They would risk their lives to bring their "mates" back, whether wounded or dead. The most heartbreaking thing was to leave someone on the battlefield. Shouldn't we care as deeply when someone going through a rough time drops out of sight? We can be so busy with our lives or hesitant to intrude that we do "leave people behind." We could learn from the soldiers.

Speaking of the deep bond between the men in the front lines, one of them said, "The love of the men for each other was really something." That love had a cost, as could be seen by the tears that fell. When we open ourselves and our hearts to loving people deeply, sooner or later we will experience hurt. We'll be tempted to retreat into our safety zone, behind the walls of self protection, but safety can't compare with really knowing and loving people.

One of the veterans spoke of, "The euphoria! The tanks coming closer and closer." There came a point when victory was assured; it was just a matter of time, and those tanks did finally roll into view, to an outpouring of gratitude by the Dutch people.

In the book of Acts, chapter 1, Luke writes:

Acts 1:11 (New Living Translation)
11They said, "Men of Galilee, why are you standing here staring at the sky? Jesus has been taken away from you into heaven. And someday, just as you saw him go, he will return!"

Prayer: Dear Lord, we are soldiers in a battle for the souls of men, women and children and yet I confess that for so long I was not engaged in the war but had wandered off the battlefield to pick flowers. Please keep my eyes open to what is at stake and please come soon Lord Jesus!

1 Peter 1:13 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society
Be Holy 13Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.

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