The war in Iraq is over and our soldiers are coming home. This is a day of celebration for the American People! For many, December 15, 2011 will forever be a day to remember, as loved ones are released from the threat of harm and death. For others, it will be a time mixed with joy and sorrow; a time of rejoicing for these families and soldiers, yet filled with great sadness because their soldier never made it home; their soldier is now a memory.
Their soldier will not be greeted with warm hugs, cries of joy, and tears of relief because their soldier was buried years ago, months ago, or maybe only days ago fighting a war for protection and peace. For countless other American’s, today is simply another day. Although the war is all too real, the bloodshed unthinkably fatal, and the purpose of great worth, what the eyes have not seen, and the heart has not felt, the mind has not understood.
I ashamedly confess falling into this latter group of Americans. Maybe it’s because I have no loved ones serving and risking their lives in Iraq. Perhaps it is a result of steering clear of the horrific news reports of tragedy and death this war has caused. Whatever the reasoning, it is unwarranted and inexcusable. If you are reading this today and have lost a loved one, or spent months or even years anticipating your soldier’s return home, I ask your forgiveness for my unwillingness, for my lack of compassion, for my unfaithfulness to pray for your family and your warrior. I praise God your loved one was obedient to His calling and willing to risk his/her life for another. And I pray your soldier is coming home.
Unfortunately I have another confession. Just as my eyes did not see the war in Iraq and my heart did not feel for the soldiers in danger or the families in waiting, I have not actively understood the spiritual battle taking place every moment of every day. Yes, the battle is all too real, the bloodshed
unthinkably fatal, and the purpose of great worth, but my physical eyes have blinded my spiritual eyes. I have been a soldier unfit for battle. I have been a friend unsupportive to those who have given their lives to serve our God and His people. I go about my day unaware of the battle taking place in my heart, in my life, and in the lives of those around me. I get up each morning neglecting to put my armor on, neglecting to actively engage in the most real battle ever to be fought, and I am a soldier unprotected, unguarded, and completely defenseless.
Oh LORD God, I beg Your forgiveness for the heartlessness of my actions. I ask You to wipe away this selfishness in me that prevents me from seeing the reality of what is occurring on this physical earth and in the spiritual places. I KNOW we wrestle against powers and principalities. I KNOW I need my full armor to battle the fiery darts of the wicked one. You have been faithful to teach me these things, yet I have been unfaithful to walk in them. Please forgive me, Father. I rejoice today for the soldiers coming home. I praise You for the joy their families must feel! I ask You to pour out Your perfect peace upon those who have lost their brave warrior. God, I anticipate the day You proclaim “This war is over! My children are coming home!” I anxiously await my Perfect Father rejoicing over me, greeting me with warm, loving hugs . Please grant me eyes to see and a heart of compassion. Please forgive me and fill me with Your strength to finish strong and hold up the hands of others as they actively submit to Your calling in their lives. I thank You for Your faithfulness to this unfaithful soldier. In the mighty Name which is above all names, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.