Sunday, February 17, 2008
Do we appreciate it?
These are my beloved sons, in whom I am well pleased. One of my most sincere hopes is to be buried by them, instead of the other way around.
How do parents feel when they send a child off to war, and the child never returns? Thousands of Americans know this pain all too well, and I won't insult them with a feeble attempt at describing it.
My great-grandparents almost found out what this feels like. Their son, my grandfather, Alfred Dominguez, joined the Marine Corps at the age of 19 and later took shrapnel to his head and body on the island of Iwo Jima. It's our understanding that, had an unknown fellow Marine not removed him from the battlefield, he would not have been likely to survive. Grandpa was only 19 or 20 years old when he sustained this grave injury, and would not meet his wife, my grandmother, until several years later. Three generations now exist in our family which would not have if Grandpa had died in that black sand in 1945. He is 82 years old now, and has only recently begun to tell stories of the most intense experience of his long life.
Grandpa once told me of his concern that many young people today fail to appreciate the sacrifice of a generation of warriors before them. Since then, 9/11 occurred, and I hope Grandpa feels more peace about this now that there is so much outpouring of emotional support from the American people for our troops and their families. Living in Killeen, TX has made this more real for me. Three doors down from our house, hangs a banner on a garage door: "Welcome Home, Daddy!" There are many, many more like it all over this city.
Imagine the feelings of the parents and families of our lost troops. Imagine now their feelings if their child's sacrifice were not appreciated. If their child's sacrifice were made light of, taken for granted, ignored, reviled, or forgotten about altogether. Surely, it would be too much to take.
There is One who knows this brand of pain. He, too, sent His Son far away from home, not knowing His Son could die, but knowing His Son would. Intending for Him to. Knowing the importance of the mission outweighed the fear and the pain. Willing to lose His Son to give us the opportunity to be restored to Him.
Yes, someone might say, but in this case, the Father knew His Son was coming home again after it was all over.
Not really. If Jesus had turned His back on His mission, He could not have gone home. God cannot tolerate the presence of sin, a fact His Son knew all too well.
But, because He fulfilled His mission and went home again, every one of our brave souls who give their lives for freedom has the opportunity to see their loved ones again after this world is all over.
And, how does our Father feel when His Son's sacrifice is not appreciated? When it is made light of, taken for granted, ignored, reviled, or forgotten about altogether? Surely, it is too much to take.
As a matter of fact, it is. He promises us that. (2 Thessalonians 1:5-10)
On that day, every soul will bow the knee before Jesus Christ. But, it will only matter for those who already did.
When was the last time you grieved over Christ on the cross?
When was the last time you wept over putting Him there?