This morning as I was listening to the radio on my drive to work, I heard the story of a soldier. He was the point-man for his unit as they walked across a bridge. As they were crossing, they were attacked, and he was severely wounded.

He is now a quad-amputee. I listened to this soldier, who lost parts of all four limbs, talk about how grateful he was. He was grateful to be alive. I did not hear any sadness over his injuries, or lament of an altered future. All I heard was a man grateful to be able to share life with his wife.

I heard his wife speak too. She is overjoyed that he is alive. Her only “negative” statement was that she couldn’t do anything but pray while he was still in-theater. Now he is home, and she can’t even imagine a life without him.

12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:12-13)

When Jesus said those words, he was fully aware of what he was going to do very soon – die on a cross, first for his friends, but ultimately for every human being to ever live.

Try as I might, I’ll never understand what it means to be that willing. In my mind, I feel sure that I would be willing to give my life for my family, and my friends. But for people I don’t know? Hard to say. Jesus decided to do just that for people who were not even born yet. Yes, he knows us before we are even conceived, but that is not the same thing as an abiding personal relationship. He had that with the disciples, but not with me or you – not yet anyway. I cannot begin to express the depth of gratitude that I have for God’s grace.

Back to that soldier. Perhaps the only people who can truly understand that kind of love are those who have put their lives on the line. But, what I do understand is that an incredible depth of gratitude wells-up in me today as I consider what men and women like him are willing to do. Politics aside, that guy is a hero to every person who loves freedom. And what’s even more amazing is that there are about a million other men and women willing to place life and limb on the line.

Happy veterans day to all who have put on a uniform in our armed services. May God bless you, richly and immeasurably.

13 thoughts on “grateful”

  1. I agree with Jason, the only thing I can say to them is Thank You! There have been many military men and women in my family and for their service and the service of all the others, I am so very grateful!

  2. I don’t have any family members currently serving, but one of my best friends is a captain in the Army. Watching her go off to Iraq then being able to see her return unharmed was one of the greatest blessings, and emotional experiences, I’ve been a part of so far. I can’t imagine giving up Christmases, Thanksgivings, and every common day in between. I’m humbled and grateful.

  3. First as a veteran – thank you and thank you for writing this. The post is encouraging and God honoring and thank you for that too.

    I am grateful and thankful for all those who put the uniform also to keep us free.

  4. Thanks for the post. As a prior veteran, I appreciate it. It is amazing that our fellow countryman are willing to give and risk their lives for an “imperfect” country. A county in which many of it citizens do not appear very appreciative of the sacrafice. It gives us a little insight to the nature of Jesus Christ. His willingness to die for sinful men knowing that there was no chance he might find anouther way of winning the battle, and knowing that we could bring no goodness to the table on our own merit. I am not sure we even have the ability to really understand the sacrafice here. But examples like the one you mention give us some glimpses.

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