They served our nation well. These brave souls sacrificed and risked everything to defend the cause for which they fought. With courage and honor they endured numerous attacks without backing down from their enemy. What a debt of gratitude we owe them! How can we thank them enough for what they did? How many things do we enjoy because they were willing to fight?
These are the men and women who followed orders and were loyal to their fellow soldiers. These are the ones who fought hard battles when they would have preferred to have been enjoying themselves. But they realized what was at stake. They had a choice: fight or be destroyed. They valiantly chose to fight. Where would we be without them?
It is fitting to honor these veterans of war. Sure, the words above apply to those who have defended our country in battle. But I am talking about a different war and a different kind of veteran.
I am talking about Christian soldiers who for years have defended the Bible when it was being attacked by their own relatives.
I am speaking of Christian men and women who have had their hearts broken and their lives torn apart by rebellious children and grandchildren yet still kept their faith.
I am talking about elders who have been betrayed by preachers and unmercifully criticized by members yet gave their best to the congregation.
I have in mind husbands who have been married for years and who have fought off the devil’s temptations to be unfaithful to their wives.
I am thinking of Christian women who have refused to let worldly attitudes and priorities rule them and their children.
I am talking about veteran preachers of the gospel who have been attacked by envious brethren, slandered by denominationalists, and betrayed by ungodly elders but refused to compromise the truth or develop a bitter spirit.
I am speaking of spouses who have had their lives shattered by an unfaithful mate but have stayed faithful to God.
I have in mind cancer patients and people with other debilitating illnesses who fight the urge to quit and determine to face life with faith and a smile.
I am speaking of adults who were emotionally, physically or sexually abused as children but who fought the temptation to pity themselves and hate others and grew into happy, productive Christians.
I am talking about those who lost their parents or their spouse and have battled loneliness for years without turning their back on God.
I am commending those veteran Christians who have struggled with the frustrations of a physical handicap all their life.
Christians are soldiers at war (I Tim. 6:12; II Tim 2:3-4; Eph. 6:10-18). We are in charge of national security because we have a “holy nation” to defend (I Pet. 2:9). The war is not over for these veterans. They must fight until they near the end and can say with Paul, “I have fought a good fight” (II Tim. 4:7). But it is good to look back at the battles they have fought and express appreciation for the service they have rendered in the kingdom.
Kerry Duke