Visiting the cemetery on Memorial Day has always been a family tradition. And each time I go I’m struck by the rows of flowers and flags, the somber feeling, and the looks on the faces of those lost in thoughts of remembrance and grief. The pain is palpable, as is the pride of the sacrifice made by so many. Without fail, John 15:13 always enters my mind, “Greater love has no other than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”
It’s easy to take for granted the freedoms that we enjoy as Americans. Freedoms that come at a steep price. And it’s just as easy to forget those who are left behind to deal with the crippling pain of loss and with the task of rebuilding their lives. They need our love, compassion, and help. And as we all have faced trials of our own and have found comfort through the Lord, it is our duty as His ambassadors to provide for the needs of those who are hurting. For as 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 reminds us, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
Our Father understands our grief, and promises to love us through our pain. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matt. 5:4) “He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds.” (Ps. 147:3) Why does God understand? Because the greatest Soldier of all who sacrificed everything was God’s only begotten Son; our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Jesus gave up everything He had and knew to lay down His life and free us from bondage. He came to defeat the enemy of death, loving us more than He loved Himself. “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” (1 John 3:16)
Romans 13:7 tells us to give honor to whom honor is due, and I can’t think of better recipients than those who gave their lives fighting to protect our land, lives, and freedoms; and to those dealing with the grief of losing a loved one. I read a saying once that said, “Grief is never ending. Yet although it never ends, it does change. It’s a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor is it a lack of faith. Rather, it’s the price of love”. We know that love is a gift from God. And He loves and grieves with each of His children. Nothing is lost on Him for, “precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His godly ones”. (Ps. 116:15)
So on this Memorial Day when we are enjoying the ones we love, take the time to remember those who have gone on ahead of us, and those left behind. Remind the ones struggling, and yourself if need be, that one day we’ll be reunited with those we have lost. We will all be together in the kingdom of God, living, loving, and worshiping Him forever with not a tear or sorrow in sight! I personally want to thank those who fought and died for me. Whose boundless bravery is a shining example for all to see! May God bless you and keep you.