Our military is strong but without God we are lost
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.