He stood tall among the men. Boots laced high. The uniform he wore was colored to blend with sand. Badges decorated his chest. He was ready to head to where he had been before. Knowing the dangers and toils ahead, he stood ready to take his place and fulfill his call.
Hat in hand, he stood surrounded by men who had been where he now stood. Men who were there to pray. To lift up this one who would soon face the battle again. With heads bowed, each one placed the life and testimony of this man into the hands of the One Who had already prepared his way.
Close by, a woman and her children wept silently as they sensed the moments fleeing. They knew that the time left with the one they loved was measured in minutes. Soon he would be gone again, and they would be left to carry on without his strength. Bravely they accepted their lot.
The room was filled with others who also knew this pain. Most had learned the art of trust more than the average. So with heads bowed, each in the room committed the man and his family up to the Most High.
I stood in awe of these people. Not one perfect, but each one exhibiting strength greater than they think they are capable. Emotional goodbyes, extended absences and the difficulties of carrying on alone have resulted in a stoic stance. Such is the life of those who choose to love one who has given his life in service to country.
Always the unspoken knowledge that the dangers ahead may take the one they love forever. But most do not speak of it, for that would open doors that must remain closed for life to continue.
In spite of these things, this group counts themselves blessed, for they have met the One Who knows the future. They have chosen a life of faith and have committed their love and their fears into the arms of a loving, all-powerful God. A God Who goes before the one they love and who stays with them as their strength.
What of myself? I am called to be a soldier of the Lord. But so often the sacrifices required seem too great, and I go AWOL. Instead of meeting the mission He has for me, I avoid it at all cost. If these individuals would give so much for our country, how can I give less to the One Who gave His all for me.
I have heard these men praise God for the opportunity to minister in countries that do not allow regular missions. Can I not minister within the country that I now live? With relatively minor sacrifices required, I balk at the simplest mission.
"Tell them of Me."
Simple, but oh so difficult if we do not lay ourselves down at the feet of Him first. Our fear of being disliked or thought to be "unloving" or "unaccepting" holds our tongues in check. Yet He hung naked and bleeding for all the world to see. Can I not pick up the cross He has laid out for me, and submitting to His plan, carry it down the path to the place where He will say, "Well done thou good and faithful servant."?
"And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it." Matthew 10:37-39