“You answer us with awesome and righteous deeds, God our Savior, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas” (Psalm 65:5).
“If you want to appreciate the blessings upon America, go fight a war in a foreign land.”
The words were spoken by a soldier long ago. But even the newest troops deployed to present fields of conflict might quickly nod their heads in agreement.
Combat troops do not view a country on a carefully arranged route chosen by a travel agency. They do not stay in 5-star hotels that protect them from the common citizen of that country. They get to see life as it is really lived. And, that is often a painful sight.
Apart from the horrors that war can bring, often American eyes see the pitiful conditions of everyday life. If it isn’t dirty water or shanty housing, it is hungry children or the discarded elderly. We ask ourselves, how can they live like this?
Worse yet is the misery put on them by their own people. Simply by being a member of a ruling class or clan, sometimes simply by being a man, the power is there to take advantage of the weak and unfortunate. At times, we shake our heads in dismay at what we see. The explanation, “That’s their culture, that’s just the way it is!” does not satisfy us, or soften the memories.
When we hear them call out for help from a man-made god, an emptiness fills our heart. Don’t they know all this is in vain? Don’t they realize that their prayers reach only the void of space?
Miserable! Brutal! Hopeless! What else can we say? How else would we describe it? We try to help, but we know that our efforts bring minimal results, and often last for only a short time.
When our tour of duty ends, we return to our flat screen TVs and our turkey for Thanksgiving. But, it’s hard to forget what we have seen. And, we dare not resort to memory suppressing agents. Alcohol will not wash away the stain of misery.
But, there is hope for these people, and for us. There is hope that we will be able to help them. Perhaps some of what we did while with them will bring lasting benefits. But we have a greater hope. We have a God greater than human efforts.
“God our Savior, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas…”
The solution is not political. It is not military. It is divine.
The only hope for any nation, for any people, and in every need, is the Savior God.
He is the one that has showered America with such rich blessings. He is the one who has rescued the world from the domination of Evil. He is the one who chose us to represent him wherever we are on the planet.
The one we offer thanks to is the one that we pray to on behalf of others.
With a prayer of thanksgiving for ourselves, on this Thanksgiving, we offer a prayer for those we could not help.
He is their only hope.
Heavenly Father, Lord of war and peace, ruler of the ends of the earth and the farthest seas, we come before you with humble hearts as we acknowledge the rich supply of good things—both material and spiritual—that you have delivered into our lives. We ask that you would bless others as you have blessed us. We pray that they might turn to you as the only hope in this world and the next. In the name of our Brother, Jesus.
Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain
and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida
Provided by WELS Ministry to the Military