“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 ESV
My eyes filled with images of blood and pain as I watched Hacksaw Ridge, a movie based on true World War II events, on the big screen. The smell of popcorn and fizz of my drink competed for my attention but to no avail. Loud explosions, gunfire in every direction, huge fiery flames, and total chaos on the battlefield, scene after scene, had me sitting on the edge of my seat. My heart raced as countless combat scenes played out before me, some with tragic endings, others victorious. And even though I knew this was just a movie, and certain elements were added to give it flair and excitement, I couldn’t help but believe that the war must have, in many ways, been exactly like this.
What stood out most to me as I continued to watch the inspirational movie, was the amount of sacrifice that all the soldiers gave. Some soldiers gave their lives, others gave their legs or eyesight. Maybe some only had to give time away from their families and yet others gave up peaceful dreams for the rest of their lives due to the trauma of war. But they all gave up something as they climbed that huge ridge to fight for the freedoms of the citizens of the United States of America. They sacrificed for you and for me. They sacrificed for the rights of freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the right to equal justice, and so much more. Their offering so many years ago still ensures my right and ability to make my feelings known on a faith-based blog today.
I am reminded of another who sacrificed much on my behalf. And yours too. God gave up His beloved Son to take on the debt of sin for the whole world (John 3:16). The battle scenes from Hacksaw Ridge surely pale in comparison to the torture and agony felt upon the wooden cross when Jesus’ blood ran red for me. Talk about sacrifice. God knows the pain of sacrifice.
So as we just celebrated Veterans Day and are quickly approaching Thanksgiving, instead of being caught up in the recent outcomes of the presidential election or spouting off about all the negatives of our country, let’s turn our hearts to gratitude and remembrance to those who have given up so much for us. We are indebted to God for the gift of salvation He gave to us on Calvary. And we owe much to the soldiers who have served, and are currently serving, to make our country great. We have so much to be appreciative of. If we focus our time and efforts counting our blessings and all the things that are right with our lives and our country, there will be little time for ingratitude and bitterness to take root within our hearts. We can make an eternal difference in our country, even our world, one small “thank you” at a time.
“Heavenly Father, thank You for the blessings You have given me, especially the ones I take for granted. Guide me in fostering a grateful heart that gives honor and praise to You. Help me to be an example of remembrance and gratefulness to those who have sacrificed for my rights in my country. Saturate the hearts of the American people with Your never-ending love and help us to focus on the blessings that unite us instead of what we perceive to divide us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
*Although I am not a professional movie reviewer, this was an excellent film. It was rated R for violence and gore and definitely not appropriate for younger children. The inspirational undertones and theme were encouraging. I would recommend it to anyone who can get past all the blood and gore.
Blessings and have a great week,