By Rev. Robert A. Crutchfield, Founder and Editor, FaithInspires.Org
In Acts Chapter 10 we find the story of Cornelius the centurion. A man who was not just a soldier but a man who commanded 100 soldiers in battle after battle. Verse 2 tells us, “ He and his whole household were pious,Gentle God worshipers. He gave generously to those in need among the Jewish prayed to God constantly.” Later in Verse 22 his messengers said of him, “ … a centurion and righteous man, a God worshiper who is well-respected by all Jewish people.” Acts Chapter 10 even tells us of God sending angels to talk to Cornelius. From this we can tell that God is concerned about those who serve in the military. They flourish under God's care just as we all do.
In considering the responsibility of a member of the military from a Christian faith perspective we look at Ezekiel 33:6 where it says “But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes someone's life, that person's life will be taken because of their sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for their blood.” What we learn here is that while God hates war, he understands that in this imperfect world war happens. Knowing this he provides us with men and women endowed with the necessary gifts to defend us when needed. God holds those charged with our defense accountable for our safety. This same need is echoed from our American History in the words of George Washington, "To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving peace." God not only prepares us for war when it must happen, He also prepares those who defend us, through his relationship with them. We saw this with Cornelius where scripture tells us he “prayed to God constantly.” I know first hand that many of our military members do this even today. So while we very much be very grateful to every individual who has ever worn our nations uniform, as Christians we should also be grateful to God for providing us with such amazing unique individuals for our defense in the first place.
I served in the Texas State Guard many years ago. I also served in the Coast Guard Auxiliary along active and reserve Coast Guard members. I am a life member of the Navy League of the United States, and a former local board member with the U.S. Selective Service System. So I have been lucky to observe and be around members of our military from a variety of perspectives. So when I tell you that on Veteran's Day that those who serve to protect us deserve our enduring gratitude. I speak from first hand experience, up close. One of the best ways we as Christians can thank our veterans is to pray for them. Many bear emotional scars years after the battle that the rest of us cannot even imagine. Some of them have suffered financially because of their service. Some have lost arms or legs, or have suffered head injuries that have caused many difficulties. The cost of our defense can be high to those who are charged with our defense. God's comfort, strength, and companionship can be critical to them. You may not think you even know any veterans. As in all things, this does not restrict your prayer. God knows the names, God knows the needs. No sincere prayer will ever go unneeded or unheeded..
When I was in uniform I was blessed to not see combat. But I served, and as one who served I want to extend my prayers, and my enduring gratitude to every single person who has ever honorably worn our nation's uniform. Thank you for giving me the right, and opportunity to say Happy Veteran's Day, and God bless you for your service !