Greater Love Hath No Man Than This…

As the fallen are returned from Afghanistan, we remember Jesus’ words

As the 13 recent war dead returned this week to the United States, we can only bow our heads in humility for the sacrifice given upon that land so far away called Afghanistan.

As a young teenager, on holiday in France in the late 1970s, I remember vividly the row-upon-row of white crosses, as far as the eye could see of the war dead. These were not just symbols of WWII. These were the spots where those who fought and died for our freedom lay. This was hallowed ground.

Great British, American and Canadian men, mostly teenagers themselves, ran from amphibian crafts, unto the Normandy beaches. These young men who had traveled from afar would never leave these foreign lands, their blood forever etched in the sand. So many decades later, this busy almost oblivious world…pauses. At least for a moment, we remember as 13 caskets came back to America again.

This present generation of ‘takers’ would do well to remember the former generation of ‘givers’ before they tweet their thoughts. The selflessness of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice is sanctified in the words of Jesus (John 15:13), spoken thousands of years before:

“Greater love has no man than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”

Words from foreign shores

During WWII 2nd Lt Jack Lundberg Lead navigator, US air force, from Woods Cross, Utah wrote home to his parents:

“Dear Mom, Pop and family, Now that I am actually here I see that the chances of my returning to all of you are quite slim, therefore I want to write this letter now while I am yet able… If you receive this letter I shall be unable to fulfill my desires, for I have requested that this letter be forwarded only in the event I do not return.”

And still Lt Lundberg alongside thousands of others that day at Normandy never faltered. He survived the D-day landings but was killed in action two-and-a-half weeks after it began. Lt Lundberg was only 25-years-old. His letter reveals a side of mankind embedded within God our Creator. It is a level of giving many of us will never fully understand, but one that our Lord fully does.

Strength from above

Since time began, man has leaned on God’s strength for support at such times. The Bible is filled with battles, wars and PRAYER. It shows us that the warrior needs God and needs prayer – he draws his strength from God. This could not be better demonstrated in Isaiah 28:6:

“He will be a spirit of justice to the one who sits in judgement, a source of strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate.”

D-Day was no exception and the Chaplain’s voice would bring words of comfort and support. Pictured above is Father (Major) Edward J Waters, a chaplain from Oswego, New York. Like thousands of others he would bring soldiers to their knees, humbling themselves before God, asking for strength before the battle. This photo was taken prior to the first assault on European shores.

The battle may be very different for us, but we still need God’s strength to overcome.

Today, whatever your faith, we as Americans, bow our heads for the 13 fallen. We pray for their families and all those injured and still recovering. We pray for the families of the civilians in Afghanistan who have also been killed, maimed and injured – many children. We pray for continued protection. We humbly thank our Lord Jesus for the bravest in history…and in doing so remember John Maxwell Edmund’s penetrating words from a previous battle (1916):

“When you go home, tell them of us and say, for your tomorrow, we gave our today.”


This article was modified from the original article written by Karin McBride-Chenoweth. It was first published on GOD TV blog. Karin is an award-winning writer, editor and publisher of Christian and secular works in Europe and the USA. Karin is a US Citizen and lives and works in the USA.

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