As I recall my early childhood, I distinctly remember joining my classmates every morning as we said the Pledge of Allegiance. In unison, we joined our friends and teachers and gave our promise to our country. Though we may not have understood all that this implied, we faithfully pledged every day. As I’ve grown up, and grown in my understanding of the sacrifices our military service men and women have made, the National Anthem has brought me to tears. Putting my hand over my heart and reciting the Pledge has taken on an entirely different meaning.
Last weekend my sister-in-law left her husband and 1-year-old son to travel half-way around the world to serve her country. As I spent time in prayer for her safety and peace for her and her family, it occurred to me how much of a sacrifice our military men and women and their families make for us! Do they differentiate who they will serve? Do they choose a particular gender, race, age? No, they blindly serve ALL Americans, whether we deserve it or not.
This got me to thinking about how closely this situation resembles Jesus making the ultimate sacrifice for us. God, knowing we would need Jesus, chose to send His only son to sacrifice his very life for us! I can only imagine how God must have felt when he chose to send his only son to die. Can you imagine sending one of your children to die? I can’t fathom sending one of mine! Now, even more importantly, He sent His ONLY son! We’re not talking about a father of many sons; this was His only son. When I think on this, John 3:16 becomes even more compelling to me.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his ONE and ONLY Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
What an incredible sacrifice! However, when we look at the son, Jesus WILLINGLY went to the cross, knowing full well that He would die. He knew He would be tortured. He would endure unimaginable pain and suffer until He passed. Yet, He says this in John 17:1-2:
“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him.”
He knew his purpose. He knew His destiny was great. He knew that His life was the sacrifice needed to enable us to live! ALL of us. ANY of us who believe! I have to pause and let that sink in. He would do this for ME? I don’t deserve this sacrifice. Not one of us does. The good thing is, He freely gives it to us, and though we can’t earn it, it’s readily available for us to receive!
Sacrifice. Though our sacrifices cannot compare to Gods and His only son, I know many that have made incredible sacrifices for you and I. Do you know someone who has left their family to serve you? Do you know someone who said goodbye to their spouse or packed up their kids and moved across the country? Do you know someone who lost their life in service to you and me?
I will unapologetically honor our military men and women and their families and forever remember their sacrifices! My earnest prayer is that as we remember to honor them and thank them for their sacrifice, that we will be reminded that God, and His son, Jesus, have made the ultimate sacrifice for you and me and that we choose to purpose our lives to honor Him.
Photo credit: Shawn Harquail via Foter.com / CC BY-NC
<a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/harquail/14258940076/”>Shawn Harquail</a> via <a href=”http://foter.com/re/6a55b3″>Foter.com</a> / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>CC BY-NC</a>