Our fight is not against people on earth. We are fighting against the rulers and authorities and the powers of this world’s darkness. We are fighting against the spiritual powers of evil in the heavenly places. [Ephesians 6:12 (ERV)]
This morning, I quietly read my Bible, some Billy Graham, and prayed. Over coffee, I looked through the newspaper and watched the news. I laughed at a political cartoon, read editorials that both praised and criticized our president, and heard politicians from opposite sides of the aisle disagree about taxes and health care. Once at my computer, I checked my calendar (Bible study tonight) and read about Tuesday’s election. In my email, along with news from friends and Christian devotions, I got an action alert from a local conservation group asking me to contact my representative about a proposed bill. I also received several Veteran’s Day advertisements.
Veteran’s Day wasn’t meant to be another reason to go shopping. Originating in 1919 as Armistice Day, it celebrated the end of World War I — said to be the “war to end all wars” until WW II proved that wrong. In 1954, Armistice Day became Veteran’s Day — and a day to honor all military veterans for their service, patriotism, and willingness to sacrifice for the good of our nation.
Within the first two hours of my day, I’d experienced an incredible amount of freedom, in large part because of those veterans we’ll honor this weekend. We are comfortable and secure in our homes, able to speak openly, vote, run for political office, read without restrictions, gather together freely, and worship openly. We can even safely complain both about and to the government. We can do all that and much more because of the men and women who took a stand against evil—not just with their votes, voices, prayers, or money—but with their service. In many cases, they returned home with scars both visible and hidden. In some cases, they returned in body bags.
I came of age in an era of anti-war/anti-military sentiment and I continue to abhor the thought of weapons and warfare. Nevertheless, time has taught me that sometimes fighting evil means real soldiers and an actual battlefield. As the character Ransom learned in C.S. Lewis’ novel Perelandra, when reasoning fails to defeat Satan, one may have to resort to actual combat. The struggle against the enemy is not always a spiritual one; sometimes it is physical and the hands God uses belong to real men and women. Until the day when our weapons can be turned into agricultural tools, we will continue to need people who will put their lives on the line to fight evil. While we continue to pray for peace, may we also pray for the members of our armed forces (both past and present) and thank God for their service. Let’s remember to express our deep and lasting gratitude to them, as well.