Veteran’s Day was yesterday and through social media I read many wonderful expressions of gratitude to well-deserving military servants, both past and present. Where would we be as a country, and as individuals, if these loyal citizens had not given up their time, comfort, energy, families, and lives? And it continues today.
Though terribly faulted and far from a nation unified in God, I shudder to think where we as a country might be physically, morally, spiritually and legally, if the layers time were peeled back and even one of those that have posed a threat to our nation and others had not been diverted.
This got me thinking about other veterans, in other circumstances. In our Sunday morning Ladies’ Bible class, we are studying God’s plan for setting us free and looking at what He has to teach us through His workings with the Israelites in the Exodus from Egyptian bondage. Where would I be, if Moses had not led, and Joshua and Caleb had not stayed faithful? Where would I be without those stories of God’s sovereignty and will worked out over time?
Where would I be if those first century Christians had not taught each other, their children, and their enemies the love of God and His plan perfected through His Son? When blessed with the wonder and power of Jesus’ resurrection and continuation of the salvation story, they fought the good fight. The ancient arenas and catacombs echo with their stories and when my heart receives their sound, how can I respond in any other way than with humble gratitude? Their stories touch mine. If they had not stayed faithful, would my story have even a beginning?
Where would I be if someone had not nurtured the seeds of faith in the men and women that moved north and planted churches far from the faithful masses, into the hearts of communities that had left the convictions of their forefathers? Where would I be if those brothers and sisters had not persevered without the benefit of large faith community, but who lived rooted in God’s word and service anyway?
I am grateful today for those spiritual veterans. I am grateful for those that touched me personally, and those that I never knew, but whose fruit of faith still exists in the form of church groups, Christian universities, camps, and traditions.
I am grateful for those who, despite their busy and overworked lives, planned and served at that youth rally in Burlington, Massachusetts 35 years ago. I am grateful for those spiritual veterans who taught Clyde Daggett, so he could raise up faithful children, so his son Shawn could be used as a tool to teach and mentor me in the Truth. I am grateful for those that planted a church in Manchester, NH that still serves as God’s hands in my spiritual growth and encouragement. I am grateful for those that started Harding and OCC and Ganderbrook Christian Camp.
I am grateful for the couples who have stayed faithful despite wanderings in the desert, and to those brothers and sisters that have stayed the course amid trials.
I am grateful for brothers and sisters that dig deep into God’s word and study and share from the pulpit, in blogs, in books, in conversation.
Many have designated this calendar month as a time to reflect and deliberately count and share their gifts of daily grace. Our two national holidays are well placed here, giving us pause to consider the military and family gifts. Let us also include whispered prayers of thanks to God for the warriors of faith, in both prayer and action, that have brought us before His throne and enabled us to participate in the victory of Jesus and the hope of Heaven.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith…Hebrews 12:1,2