Yesterday in church, we were sitting behind him, and it struck me that no one sitting around us had any idea that Ryan was going to be a soldier. I wondered if they would care if they did know. I started to feel a mixture of anger and an absurd desire to tap them on the shoulder and ask, "Did you know my son is going into the Ar*y?" The suddenness and fierceness of my emotion surprised me because it seemed to come out of nowhere. This is my baby...and I wanted people to care that he is going into harms way for them. And then...a flash of insight. This is how God looks at the world. He longs for EVERYONE to know that He sent His Son to save their lives. That He offers the only true freedom that every spirit longs to know.
As I contemplated my deep distress just at the 'possibilty' that someone might not care that Ryan was going into danger for them, I could only imagine the incredible hurt that God must feel as people mock and choose to hate His Son--whose only 'crime' is that He loves them with a perfect love. Who came to die to set them free. Who only wants a relationship with them.
How can we refuse this amazing, indescribable love?
A friend of mine sent me this in an email, and I want to re-post it here. Author is unknown....
Half Man – Half Boy
The average age of the military man is 19 years. He is a short haired, tight-muscled kid who, under normal circumstances is considered by society to be half man, half boy. Not yet wet behind the ears, not old enough to buy a beer, but old enough to die for his country. He never really cared much for work, and would rather wax his own car than wash his father’s, but he’s never collected unemployment either.
He’s a recent high school graduate; he was probably an average student, pursued some form of sport activities, drives a 10 year old jalopy and has a steady girlfriend who either broke up with him when he left, or swears to be waiting for him when he returns from half a world away. He listens to hip-hop, country or jazz and a 155 mm howitzer.
He is 10 or 15 pounds lighter now than when he lived at home because he is working or fighting from before dawn to well after dusk. He has trouble spelling, thus writing a letter is a pain for him, but he can field strip a rifle in 30 seconds and reassemble it in half the time in the dark.
He can recite to you the nomenclature of a machine gun or grenade launcher and use either one effectively if he must.
He digs foxholes and latrines and can apply first aid like a professional.
He can march until he is told to stop, or stop until he is told to march.
He obeys orders instantly and without hesitation, but he is not without spirit or individual dignity.
He is self-sufficient. He has two sets of fatigues: He washes one and wears the other. He keeps his canteen full and his feet dry.
He sometimes forgets to brush his teeth but never to clean his rifle. He can cook his own meals, mend his own clothes and fix his own hurts.
If you are thirsty, he’ll share his water with you; if you’re hungry, his food. He’ll even split his ammunition with you in the midst of battle if you run low.
He has learned to use his hands like weapons and his weapons like they were his hands.
He can take your life or save it – because that is his job.
He will often do twice the work of a civilian, draw half the pay, and still find the ironic humor in it all.
He has seen more suffering and death than he should have in his short lifetime.
He has wept in public and private for friends who have fallen in combat and is unashamed.
He feels EVERY NOTE of the National Anthem vibrate through his body while at rigid attention, while tempering the burning desire to ‘square away’ those around him who haven’t bothered to stand, remove their hat, or even stop talking.
In an odd twist, day in and day out, far from home, he defends their right to be disrespectful.
Just as his Father, Grandfather and Great-Grandfather, he is paying the price for our freedom. Beardless or not, he is not a boy. He is the American Fighting Man that has kept this country free for over 200 years.
He has asked nothing in return except our friendship and understanding.
Remember him always for he has earned our respect and admiration with his blood.
A Prayer for our Military:
“Lord, hold our troops in Your loving hand. Protect them as they protect us. Bless them and their families for the selfless acts they perform for us in our time of need. In Jesus Name – Amen.”
Of all the gifts you could give a U.S. Marine, Soldier, Sailor, Airman, or Coast Guardsman, prayer is the very best.