Our mil­i­tary is strong but with­out God we are lost

The Weekly Vista - - Religion - ROBERT A. BOX

As we ap­proach Vet­er­ans Day (Nov. 11), my thoughts have been di­rected to­ward the many men and women who have served in our mil­i­tary, some whom have paid the ul­ti­mate sac­ri­fice and have given their lives in or­der that we may en­joy the free­dom of liv­ing in the United States of Amer­ica. We owe all of them our thanks.

How­ever, there are wars and ru­mors of war all over our globe to­day, and more than ever we need both the power of our mil­i­tary forces and the awe­some power of the Almighty God. I have been read­ing the con­tem­po­rary book by Jon Meacham, “The SOUL of AMER­ICA,” and con­fess to learn­ing a huge amount about our coun­try that I never knew be­fore. For in­stance, I learned that when then-pres­i­dent Franklin D. Roo­sevelt re­ceived the call on D-Day (June 6, 1944), with the as­sis­tance of his daugh­ter, Anna, and sonin-law John Boet­tiger, he wrote and then de­liv­ered one of the long­est mass prayers in hu­man his­tory. When he ad­dressed the na­tion that evening, he prayed:

Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our Na­tion, this day have set upon a mighty en­deavor, a strug­gle to pre­serve our Re­pub­lic, our re­li­gion, and our civ­i­liza­tion, and to set free a suf­fer­ing hu­man­ity.

Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stout­ness to their hearts, stead­fast­ness in their faith.

They will be sore tried, by night and by day, with­out rest — un­til the vic­tory is won. The dark­ness will be rent by noise and flame. Men’s souls will be shaken with the vi­o­lence of war.

For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of con­quest. They fight to let jus­tice arise, and tol­er­ance and good will among all Thy peo­ple. They yearn but for the end of bat­tle, for their re­turn to the haven of home …

With Thy bless­ing, we shall pre­vail over the un­holy forces of our enemy. Help us to con­quer the apos­tles of greed and ra­cial ar­ro­gances. Lead us to the sav­ing of our coun­try, and with our sis­ter na­tions into a world unity that will spell a sure peace — a peace in­vul­ner­a­ble to the schem­ing of un­wor­thy men. And a peace that will let all men live in free­dom, reap­ing the just re­wards of their hon­est toil.

Thy will be done, Almighty God. Amen (Quoted from Pages 170-171 of Meacham’s book)

The re­sponse to the prayer was over­whelm­ing. As Mar­garet Suck­ley wrote af­ter lis­ten­ing to the prayer, “It is won­der­ful, in these days, to find the head of this huge na­tion lead­ing the peo­ple in prayer.”

At the time of his death, Pres­i­dent Roo­sevelt left the draft of a speech he was sched­uled to de­liver on April 13, 1945, on the oc­ca­sion of Thomas Jef­fer­son’s birth­day. Roo­sevelt was said to have writ­ten, “To­day we are faced with the pre­em­i­nent fact that, if civ­i­liza­tion is to sur­vive, we must cul­ti­vate the sci­ence of hu­man re­la­tion­ships — the abil­ity of all peo­ples, of all kinds, to live to­gether and work to­gether in the same world, at peace … The only limit to, or re­al­iza­tion of, to­mor­row will be our doubts of to­day. Let us move for­ward with a strong and ac­tive faith.”

Although of­ten quoted from our pul­pits, its truth re­mains for ev­ery gen­er­a­tion and na­tion. The Bible says in 2 Chron­i­cles 7:14, “If my peo­ple, who are called by my name, will hum­ble them­selves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will for­give their sin and will heal their land.”

Although I give thanks for our vet­er­ans, my heart cries out for our peo­ple and our lead­ers to have the free­dom to lift up their hearts and souls to the Almighty God pub­licly and with­out fear. Our mil­i­tary is strong but, with­out God, we are lost.

•••

Robert Box is the for­mer chap­lain for the Bella Vista Po­lice De­part­ment and is cur­rently the fire de­part­ment chap­lain.

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