George Bowers Sr. Lessons from our battlefields
In just a few days, we will observe the 74th anniversary of D-Day, the incredibly heroic and courageous invasion of the beaches of Normandy by U.S. and other Allied troops that turned the tide of World War II and eventually resulted in the defeat of Adolf Hitler. We are fortunate enough to still have some veterans of that battle who can recall the horrors of that awful day and to whom we all owe an enormous debt of gratitude and appreciation.
Normandy is now famous for this invasion and several memorials, parks, and cemeteries mark the battlefields of June 6, 1944. Many other locations all over Europe commemorate additional sites where battles and skirmishes occurred throughout the bitter conflict to liberate the continent from Nazi domination.
Sadly, other European memorials recognize battles that took place in earlier wars including World War I, the Napoleonic wars, the Thirty Years War, the Austria-Ottoman war, The Battle of Hastings, and many, many others. The European countries abound with numerous reminders of past conflicts and the locations where many were killed as nation raged against nation and empire against empire.
Europe, however, is not unique. Every continent in the world, except Antarctica, has historic battlefields. America, too, has our own share in virtually every state including Alaska and Hawaii. Our own Shenandoah Valley has plentiful reminders of the Civil War, and prior to that, skirmishes between settlers and various Indians, as well Indian battles among warring tribes.
It’s very tragic to think that virtually all the world’s habitable land has been cursed with armed conflict and intentional death. Such a realization must disappoint and sadden our creator whose will is for his highest created beings to love and care for each other, not war against one another.
While we should honor and remember those who have fought to secure and preserve freedom and liberty, let us also work toward peaceful resolutions to our conflicts. Let’s remember that injustice, enslavement, cruel domination and abuse of power usually precipitate war and let us work to minimize and eliminate these factors before combat becomes necessary.
But let us also remember that until Jesus returns, human beings will continue to rage and fight against each other. Sadly, without regenerate hearts, we are only capable of death and destruction.
Thankfully, through the transformation offered to all through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit of God, it is possible for our default mechanisms of revenge, hatred, and abuse to be recalibrated and reset. This is work every human should invite God to do in his or her heart. Then and only then can we live peaceably with one another, loving as Jesus loved, and sharing life and resources together, without creating new battlefields for our descendants to visit.
I look forward to the day God promised through Micah and Isaiah when we will beat our swords into plowshares and our spears into pruning hooks. When wars and battlefields will be scrubbed from the earth and a new age of shalom peace, harmony and justice will be ushered in and administered by the perfect ruler. Not only will there be no more war, death, or suffering, there will be no more cruelty, injustice or greed that motivates such conflicts. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
Until that day, let us honor those who have sacrificed all for our protection as well as those who are serving us now by keeping us safe from attack. Let us visit the battlefields and learn whatever lessons we must and use that acquired wisdom to live peacefully with one another. And let us long for the day of universal peace and worldwide harmony under King Jesus. Looking forward to that day, George
George Bowers Sr. is the Senior Pastor of Antioch Church of the Brethren and has authored eleven books in addition to contributing to Everyday Grace for Men by Worthy Inspired. He can be reached through www.georgebowersministries.com or at email@example.com.