This year the males of the family went to Naval Air Station Pensacola on Memorial Day while vacationing in Gulf Shores, Alabama. It was a great experience. I am very thankful for the sacrifice of soldiers who have fought to preserve freedom from oppressive nations. I was especially struck by a talk I heard from one particular veteran who served on the USS Enterprise during World War II. He spoke of two particular incidents that he had witnessed during the War. One was of a pilot who was killed by friendly fire, and another of sailors who were trapped in a capsized ship. The sailors in the capsized vessel were communicating with rescue personnel on the outside, who were attempting to cut into the hull of the ship. Knowing that they would not be rescued before they ran out of air, they tapped out in Morse code how privileged they were to have served their country. They also made known that it was obvious they would run out of air soon, so the rescue workers should move on to help others! These two stories, on top of watching video of kamikaze destruction in the Pacific, made me even more grateful for those who have served and suffered. I am highly aware that I live a neat, clean, privileged life. I am sheltered from much of the ugliness that exists in the world. For the most part, I am very grateful and happy to live in my own little world. However, it is good to be reminded that there is depravity and suffering that goes on the world that is unthinkably horrible. Here’s why:
- Depravity reminds me that the whole world is desperately in need of redemption. There is only redemption in Christ. (Romans 8:18-25)
- I too am depraved. In the eyes of God, my wickedness is just as appalling as Adolf Hitler’s. I need a rescue. My only rescue is in Jesus Christ. (Acts 4:12)
- It makes me long for the ultimate redemption. I long for the day when things will be set right. I am an alien here. My citizenship is in heaven. (Phil 3:20/1 Cor. 15)
- It makes me hate sin. When I am confronted with the ugliness of sin, I hate it. Recently, Noah Crowe passed away. He was a little boy who suffered from cancer. His cancer is a result of sin. I am not saying he got cancer because he sinned in some way (John 9:1-3), I am saying he had cancer because we live in a fallen world. Reading his parents journey through this makes me hate sin all the more. I long for the resurrection. (1 Corinthians 15:50-57)
- Still, God has purposes for suffering that are greater than worldly comfort: The Glory of God (John 9:1-3), Conformation to the image of Christ (Romans 8:28-29), growth in Joy and perseverance (James 1:2-4), instruction (Hebrews 12:4-11), and to help others (2 Corinthians 1:3-7)
Father, help me to always be reminded of the ugliness of sin. Give me grace to flee from it. Give me grace to learn from it. May it make me always flee to Christ!