William Tecumseh Sherman, the renowned Civil War general, couldn’t have described war any more accurately than when he told a group of military academy graduates on June 19, 1879, “I am tired and sick of war. Its glory is all moonshine. It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, more vengeance, more desolation. War is hell.”
Families who’ve lost ones during times of war would agree. With destruction and death comes pain and grief, a fact that hits home for so many surviving spouses, parents, grandparents, and siblings of those who’ve died in war. These families are still dealing with the hell that war has put them through.
Not only is Memorial Day a time to honour fallen heroes but to offer support for their families. One of the best ways we can help is to assure them that a time will come when war will be no more, and that all who have died will be raised to live again. In fact, we can all be comforted with this promise.
After the Apostle Paul spoke of the resurrection of believers, he said, “Wherefore comfort one another with these words,” (1 Thess. 4:16-18, KJV).
The faithful are comforted to know that war and all its horrible consequences are only temporary. They will overcome in due time if they’ve fought the good fight in Christ (1 Timothy 6:12; 2 Timothy 4:7). The Lord is our source of strength.
Those who make the ultimate sacrifice, by giving their lives for a righteous cause even during times of war, are demonstrating a virtue reflected by Christ himself: “Greater love has no man than this, that one lay down his life for his friends,” (John 15:13, New American Standard Bible, NASB). When good men and women sacrifice their lives for the sake of protecting others out of love—love for family, friends, fellow citizens, and even God, himself—then they are modelling the kind of example Christ set for us when he died to give us the hope of eternal life.
Inspired by love and renewed through hope we face our sorrows with joy. For we know that Christ will one day make war a thing of the past and that he will defeat the enemy death once and for all. According to the scriptures, Jesus will return in power and glory as a victorious prince or ruler to put an end to war forevermore. He will ultimately defeat those who’ve declared war on him. He will smite the nations and rule them with an iron sceptre: Revelation 19:15 (Compare v. 21; 1:16; 2:27; 14:19-20; Isa. 11:4; 63:3; 2 Thess. 2:8; Psalm 2:9; Joel 3:13).
By defeating his enemies, Jesus will forge world peace during his 1,000 year on earth. Thus he will fufill his role as the Prince of Peace over all the earth: Isaiah 2:4; 9:6-7; Rev. 19:11-16. The final enemy he will destroy is death itself: 1 Corinthians 15:26. Yes, war is hell but the good news is that Jesus will put a final end to both war and hell in God’s own time! (See Rev. 21:13-15; 22:1-4.)
On Memorial Day, when many gather at the graves of their loved ones, remember their sacrifice was not in vain. Grieving families and friends can take comfort in the fact that in spite of their sorrow, joy will come in the morning when all who are in their graves will arise and live again. Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice himself to give us that blessed hope. But he arose from the grave to immortality and will gloriously return as the Prince of Peace to establish eternal peace. May Memorial Day, therefore, be a refreshing reminder that the day Jesus comes back is the day when war will be no more.
Good News to You,