On a white wall of the Veterans’ Museum in Branson, Missouri, are inscribed the names of 406,000 American soldiers who died in World War II. Behind each name, there is a more noble cause for which these men gave their lives.
Almost every country has erected monuments in memory of these soldiers who fell in combat and has put aside a day to remember those who died fighting for their country. Whether we agree with their ideals or not, we would do well to think long and hard about their courage and their sacrifice.
In Hebrews 11, there is a list of heroes who lived and died courageously “by faith.” Near the end of the chapter, the list goes from names of individuals to those of groups of believers whose experiences range from miraculous deliveries to torture and death, because they refused to compromise their faith in God.
Individually and collectively, they remind us that the spiritual combat is not over. Here is a paraphrase of Hebrews 12, written by Eugene Peterson: “Do you understand what this means-- all these pioneers who showed us the way, all these veterans who encourage us? This means that we would do well to continue.”
Let us remember each sacrifice made for us, and each example of spiritual courage, and let us decide to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and to join the parade of faithful veterans of the faith.
Let us never forget that others died that we might live.