Encouraging the Strong
Mighty men of valor, men trained for war, who could handle shield and spear, and whose faces were like the faces of lions. 1 Chronicles 12:8
Recently I had the distinct honor and privilege of meeting with a high-ranking officer at the Pentagon in Washington. What was planned as a 15-minute appointment turned into more like 45. He told me that two of his sons were currently serving in the same unit in Iraq. A war takes on a different face when you talk to dads and moms whose sons and daughters are in harm's way every day.
He said he starts his day by reviewing a list of names of the men and women who have died in battle.
We closed our time by praying for this officer and his family. As I prepared to leave—after praying with him for his work and the safety of his family—he handed me a pair of bronze medallions. On one side were these four statements that are especially meaningful to soldiers:
Never accept defeat.
Never leave a fallen comrade.
As he pressed the medallions into my palm, he left me with instructions to give each one to a soldier who I met during my travels. "Tell him not to lose heart and to be courageous."
About a month later, I had my first opportunity to accept his commission, placing one of these medallions into the hand of an officer at one of our Weekend to Remember conferences. He was preparing to return to Baghdad for the seventh time, and tears welled in my eyes as I thanked him for protecting our country, my family, my kids and my grandkids.
As you have the opportunity, I hope you'll encourage these brave men and women as well.
How do the four admonishments on the medallions pertain to your own wars at home, at work and in the prevailing culture?
Pray for our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen who are out there right now, sacrificing all to honor our nation and keep us safe.