Today is Veterans Day. This past weekend at Cross Community Church, we honored our Veterans with a special tribute. It was a wonderful time to publicly say “Thank You!” to the brave men and women of our armed forces who served and sacrificed for the freedom we enjoy.
Yet a tribute in our three worship services, as wonderful as that was, and even a national holiday today, is hardly enough to declare just how thankful we ought to be for the unimaginable sacrifices all of our veterans have made.
Last week, during a meeting of the elders of The Cross, I was reminded by my brother elder and dear friend, Bill Griffin, of some history of Veterans Day. Bill explained that “The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918…” was when an armistice (the temporary cessa
tion of battle) was declared between the Allied nations and Germany, ending World War I. The following year, November 11 was set aside as Armistice Day, making it a legal holiday. In the aftermath of World War II and the Korean War, Armistice Day became Veterans Day, a day honoring all veterans who served in all wars.
Here is a fact that few of us know, because we live in a culture that cares less and less for the things of God. On June 4, 1926, Congress passed a resolution that the recurring anniversary of November 11, 1918. should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer. That is what we all should do—not only on Veterans Day, but every day throughout the year. We ought to thank our God for the great gift of the countless brave men and women who served and sacrificed to secure our freedom.
As a pastor, I am frequently asked—especially near Veterans Day and Memorial Day observances—“Why does God allow so many wars?” The answer, of course, is found in the Bible’s account of Adam’s fall in the Garden of Eden, and it is rooted in a single word:
SIN! When Adam and Eve chose to do what they wanted to do rather than what God commanded them to do, sin entered this world and broke everything, including the image-bearers of God.
There is a day coming when no one will serve in any armed forces anywhere, because Jesus fought and won the ultimate battle against sin, Satan, and death itself. Hanging on the cross, Jesus took all the punishment for our sin and became the death of death. On the third day, He rose from the grave, proof positive that God the Father was fully pleased with Christ’s atoning work. And what Jesus began in His first coming, He will finish in His second; there will be no more tears, no more sorrow, no more wars, and no more death. The lion will lie down with the lamb, and the peace that passes all understanding will reign forever and ever. It wasn’t long after that Cain, the firstborn of our first parents, killed his younger brother, Abel. From that moment on, the pages of Scripture and written history are filled with wars. And in this great nation, God blesses us by raising up men and women of courage and commitment who are willing to pay the ultimate price to ensure our freedom by serving in our armed forces.
But until that day, let us pause and thank our God for the great gift of our veterans. Let us salute all those who have served. Let us thank God for them and pray for them and their families. And let us never forget all those who have fought for our freedom—all paying some . . . and some paying all.
May God bless every veteran—not only on this day, but every day.