Updated: May 29
My sisters and I recently visited our dear Uncle Dave, a 90-year-old Korean War veteran. Perhaps being with him and once again experiencing his quiet strength, confidence, and kindness caused overwhelming gratitude toward him and all those who have served our country and given their lives for our freedom.
I cannot imagine the atrocities wartime soldiers endure, but there are so many soldiers whose character and virtue—like Uncle Dave’s--remain true, with a deep, abiding love and commitment to God, family, and country. He wasn’t even aware of the strength he imparted, but my sisters and I each left richer that afternoon.
Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13 NKJV). During this Memorial Day weekend, we remember military men and women who died to secure our freedom. My family has many military men—my grandfather was a Doughboy in World War I; my father and his siblings were World War II veterans. All my mother’s five brothers served in World War II, and my brother and son have both served. I’m sure I’ve left out some.
Only one of them died during active duty. My mother’s brother, John, was killed in a tragic accident in World War II. Although she loved all her brothers, Mom told me Uncle John was her favorite. When I asked why, she replied, “Because he was so kind.” She went on to share memories of the beautiful letters he wrote to her family while in the war—each one full of hope and bright expectation for his future after the war was over. All her brothers and sisters benefited from the solid Christian values instilled in them by my grandparents. Indeed, the love and kindness of the Lord spoke through each of their lives and certainly through Uncle John’s written words, as well.
The sorrow Mom and her family felt upon hearing the news of Uncle John’s death must have been crushing. Were it not for the assurance of his place in heaven through faith in Jesus Christ, the loss could have scarred them for many years. So it is for the families of thousands of fallen soldiers who have sacrificed their lives throughout our nation’s history. We remember them, whether we know their names or not. They laid down their lives for precious freedoms, and though some liberties may seem to be fading, each life lost reminds us of that soldier’s “greater love” that was laid down for us.
Father God has that “greater love.” He IS that greater love. Jesus Christ displayed it as He sacrificed His life for each of us on the cross. He modeled such great love that it is beyond measurement. For His unfailing love toward those who fear Him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth (Psalm 103:11 NLT). Who can measure that?
As we go about Memorial Day observances of ceremonies, parades, family get-togethers, etc., let's consider the "greater love" that has been given for us and our country.
Lord, with grateful hearts, we thank You for Your immeasurable love toward us. We are humbled and blessed by the greater love shown by all those who died while serving to secure our freedoms. Help us remain true in a deep, abiding love and commitment to You, our families, and our country. In Christ’s Name, amen.
© 2023, Chris Werre