War

There is Hope

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It may not seem to be the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, with all that’s going on. It may not feel like the hap-happiest season of all. Yet if a song beautiful as Silent Night could be written in the midst of war, there is hope. God’s light is great enough to overcome the deepest darkness.

 

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The Most Wonderful Time of the Year?

Candle for ChristmasChristmas music is typically associated with feelings of joy. This year, it’s stirring something different in me. Something more somber, melancholy—the words and melodies clashing with news of endless bloodshed and senseless violence. Where is the hope these songs proclaim?

Instead of nostalgic feelings of happier days, I’m reminded of a scene in the late Robin Williams’ movie Good Morning Vietnam. Sobered by the brutality of war, Williams’ usually upbeat character cues the song What a Wonderful World. As Louis Armstrong sings about trees of green, red roses, rainbows, and friends shaking hands, horrific images from the tragic war scroll by in ironic dissonance with the lyrics, such words of hope gravely failing to mirror the surrounding reality.

My playlist continues as I scroll through the headlines. Can it get any darker than it already is? On this side of the world, Christmas comes at the darkest time of the year. How appropriate that in the darkest of days we’re blessed with candles and lights and words of hope. And how appropriate that come Christmas, the darkest days have passed. From here forward, the sun will shine longer and brighter, increasing each day until summer comes again.

The very first Christmas was a time of political unrest and social upheaval, a king so evil and power hungry he would resort to killing innocent children to protect his throne. In the midst of such evil, hope came alive—a hope great enough to inspire beautiful songs written in times of deep darkness.

It may not seem to be the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, with all that’s going on. It may not feel like the hap-happiest season of all. Yet if a song beautiful as Silent Night could be written in the midst of war, there is hope. God’s light is great enough to overcome the deepest darkness.

Our Savior Came

In the midst of war and battle, drought and famine, slavery and loss, our Savior came. Our Savior is also called “Immanuel.” It means “God is with us.” And He is.

 

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Prepared

If we’re not prepared for the battles that come, we will falter when they do. But if we’re in it for the fight, we’ll endure through the fight.

 

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Questions and Answers

Snodonia Mines Area from Google Images, Wikipediawhy the hunger and the thirst,
why the war and death and grief?
why the sickness with no cure
and the pain with no relief?

why the child without a home
and the outcast with no friend?
why the family without hope
and the suffering without end?

why the questions without answers
and the life that ends too soon?
what’s the purpose for this madness
God, dare i question you?

when will you enter in?
will you ever intervene?
can’t you simply lift your hand
to end this suffering?

and yet, you turn to me
a question for my ears…
do i not realize
i can answer my own prayers?

can i not lift my hands
to heal the hurt i see?
can i not enter in,
can i not intervene?

you suffered on the cross
and bore our every pain
then gave to us the work
told us go do the same

and i’m beginning now to see
that the answer lies with me
the things i’ve left undone
the pain that i’ve refused to see

the cries that i’ve ignored
the lives that i’ve betrayed
by turning from their eyes
choosing numbness over pain

how can i question God?
how can i complain?
i cast on him the blame
when it is i who bear the shame

 

poem copyright Jenna Fernandez

13 Reasons to Live: It’s Not About Me

In a sea of carnage, engulfed by enemy gunfire and immersed in the ravages of war, Desmond Doss had every reason to join his comrades, scale the cliff, and return to the relative safety of the military base. Instead, he remained in the hellish battle; rooted in the knowledge he was there for a purpose though despairing he couldn’t hear God’s voice amid the clamor of war.

Until a faint voice cried out in the distance. “Help.”

Armed only with a ragged Bible, Doss scoured the grisly landscape of death for signs of life. One by one he snatched devastated bodies from the grip of the grave, lowering them with painstaking care over the side of the cliff; again and again he returned, risking his life with each venture until some 75 comrades were lowered to safety.

I can’t imagine emerging from even five minutes of battle unscathed mentally and emotionally. The average person would drown in the unmerciful memories. War would seem the ultimate weapon in conjuring 13 Reasons Why to give up on life.

And yet, in the midst of one of the fiercest of World War II battles, Desmond Doss found a reason to live. “Give me one more, Lord,” he prayed repeatedly until his mission was complete, staying true to his conviction: “With the world so set on tearing itself apart, it don’t seem like such a bad thing…to want to put a little bit of it back together.”

Any honest person could easily come up with a list of 13 Reasons Why to plan a swift escape from this sin-sick world. Maybe if pain weren’t standing guard before death, more of us would already have left the madness of earth far behind.

But here we have a choice. We can wallow in the mire of suffering until it overtakes our resolve to live. Or we can finally declare: “It’s not about me.”

Desmond Doyle survived war without a weapon in hand, emerged from the fire a hero because of this one choice he made. He did not cower in fear of the greatest giant known to mankind. He did not succumb to complacency, savagery, or despair.

Instead, he listened for that one voice crying, “Help.” And then another, and another. And little by little, he put a small part of the world back together.

Maybe if we adopted this grand mission of putting even the smallest pieces of our own corners of this world back together, we would find our purpose is far greater than ourselves. And we would find that is more than enough reason…to live.

Though Earth Give Way

Blog_CurtainOfWaterthough earth give way
and mountains shall crumble
and all that we’ve trusted
one day will fail

the curtain’s been torn
between light and darkness
and in the end, light
will always prevail

Source: Where Are You God?

Photo Credit: File:Curtain of Water.JPG – Wikimedia Commons