Monday, July 16, 2012

Lessons Learned -Unknown Soldier

I have meant to write about this for awhile now but something always comes up-heat, pain, or won't say which one has the louder voice :)
Back in May, we were so blessed to go to VA to visit with Doug and Rose and with that, we were able to tour much of Washington, DC.  It was an amazing trip.  Living abroad for so many years and seeing all the different sites in different countries can cause you to forget a bit how much richness in culture and beauty there is in our very own country.  It was good to go back and have the opportunity to see our country's capitol and all the history that goes with it.  I fell in love with it there.  It's probably safe to say that I drove my daughter and husband crazy with how many times I told them how much I enjoyed being on the East Coast!
One of the days we were there we set out to the National Cemetery and to see the Tomb Of the Unknown Soldier.  I remember when I was just a young child and we lived in Philadelphia our parents took us to DC and I remember standing there watching the changing of the guard.  Truthfully, at the time, it was probably not so exciting standing there watching these guys in uniform move about so slowly just to change positions-but we all know that once we grow up, we learn to appreciate things so much more.
That was the case with this visit.
I was first struck by the inscription on the tomb itself:
(Here rests in honored glory an American Soldier known but to God)
My heart was overwhelmed as I read this and my eyes welled up in tears.  How true those words ring out.  My mind immediately thought about the truth of that statement.  Unknown to others-but known to God.  How many soldiers fought and still fight in wars today who are unknown to most of us.  We can read about those that died in battle and have no idea who they are or what their lives were like.  But, again, God knows.
They were fighting the fight regardless of who knew or didn't know them.  They had a purpose, a calling, a duty and they were faithful to that.  
I started thinking about us as Christians.  The Bible speaks about us in some verses as soldiers, as being members of the Lord's Army.   Each of us followers of Christ are engaged in a battle.  Each of us has a duty, a position, a calling upon our lives.  
There are many, many people who serve the Lord so faithfully who are not known to men.  They aren't on the list of  "who's who" in Christian circles.  They don't get asked to speak or preach, write books about serving the Lord, or any other such public thing-they just serve the Lord faithfully as they are called to do.

I thought about the soldier who was/is alone on the battlefield.  Perhaps he was the one watching his buddies opening letters from home, receiving care packages from loved ones and he just sat there, trying to smile, holding back the tears wishing so badly that there would be such a letter or package arriving with his name on it.  But none ever came.  Again, my thoughts went to the Missionary or Missionary family who is serving and no one knows about them, no one sends them encouraging notes or makes sure their children have some new clothes to wear.  
I wondered if the soldier grew weary.  Did he tire of serving and find himself asking if it was worth it-or did he have that purpose in mind, that goal, that passion inside his heart to know that no matter what, he knew what he was fighting for and the loneliness was worth it.  Did he ever lie awake at night wondering why he got overlooked for the promotion or the 'easier work' or was he just thankful to have been able to give his all to serve his country.  Was it difficult to hold back the tears when he sat around with his buddies and heard them talk about his family and how much they miss him or did he rejoice when they rejoiced? 

Like the soldier, we can face similar circumstances.  We can find ourselves always hearing about how great everyone else's ministries are doing while yours is struggling.  We can battle loneliness and long to be with those we love and miss so much.  We can be around other Christians, other missionaries and hear about how God is blessing them, how He is providing this and that for them and hold back the tears wishing it was us.  But like the soldier, we have a choice-we have a choice to keep our focus on the goal, to count it a privilege to be serving the Lord, to rejoice with our friends as they share what the Lord is doing in their ministries or how He has provided materially for them. 
Let's not worry about who knows of us or who doesn't.  Let's not get caught up in wanting to make a name for ourselves within certain circles of people.  Like the solider, we need to keep our focus on the duty that is set before us regardless of who knows our name.  

So, dear friend, do you feel alone today, do you feel like you are serving in the Lord's army and no one knows who you are, no one knows of the work you are doing?  Don't let discouragement overtake you.  Unbeknownst to man, but you are known by God!

In the end, it doesn't really matter if we were known to man in this life.  In the end, all that will matter is that we were known but to God.  
And in the end, it won't matter how many books were written, how many sermons were preached, what the financial status was, how many people greeted you by name as you walked into a conference.  What will matter was our call and if we were faithful to it.  What will matter is seeing Jesus face to face and having His arms reaching out to us and looking us in the eyes and saying  "Well done, my good and faithful servant"

I have a bit more to share from this experience but will save that for later in the week :)


Tracey Gust said...

Beautiful, Margie. Amongst the many truths your Unknown Soldier speaks, what especially stands out to me is the humility of Jesus as He walked on earth. May the Holy Spirit help each and every one of us believers to follow His lead.

Rachel W said...

so very true, God sees our hearts. Thanks for the encouragement, very well said. :)