Profound Gratitude

Memorial Day marks a time in which we are to remember the ultimate sacrifice of our great defenders. To be thankful to God for those who have given their lives in the service of our nation, for it was their military deaths that purchased our freedom.

Jon Bloom (over at Desiring God) has called this “God’s extraordinary common grace.” I like that. It is our profound gratitude to God that we must pass on to our children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. They need to see, hear, and feel our ardent appreciation and intense indebtedness for the freedoms we now possess.

Last year, I had shared some of the history of Memorial Day itself in a post: Do You Know What Tomorrow Is? Its meaning is often confused with Veterans Day, which honors all military vets (those who died in service and those who did not). In it, I also wrote of my concern for those who have forgotten the ultra-seriousness of this day. That concern still very much exists. In fact, I would now add apathy and indifference to the list, as I witness those who choose to appear benumbed, and even desensitized to this extraordinary common grace from God.

I walked into church yesterday with a Bible in my hand.
I prayed to the One true God publicly.
I taught from the Word of God publicly.
Many on this planet are unable to do so without the threat of bodily harm.

On a similar note of significance, June 6th will soon be here—marking the 73rd anniversary of D-Day. A book that I found to be both educational and esteeming was John C. McManus’ The Dead and Those About to Die — D-Day: The Big Red One at Omaha BeachSmack dab in the middle of that epic day was the U.S. Army’s First Infantry Division known as “The Big Red One.”

The title of the book originates from Colonel George Taylor word’s to his men:1

dead-and-those-about-to-die-198x300At the height of the fighting, when utter disaster at Omaha seemed a real possibility to nearly everyone there, Colonel George Taylor, the commander of the division’s lead assault regiment on D-Day, strode along the beach—risking death and dismemberment with every confident step—and uttered the day’s most famous words: “Only two kinds of people are going to die on this beach, the dead and those who are going to die. Now get moving!”

He knew that he had to lead by personal example, with clear orders, conveyed with the most inspiring demeanor he could conjure up in spite of his acute fear.

This gripping account will remind you of the courage and and sacrifice of many. You won’t be able to put it down. You won’t be able to forget.

As Christians, this should also prompt us to “remember Jesus Christ” (2 Tim 2:8). Our Savior was the perfect Lamb that bore our sins on the cross of Calvary, taking the very punishment we deserved. He was the only One who could pay for our sins.

We read of His final words on the cross, “it is finished” (John 19:30), which was translated from the Greek word τετέλεσται. It’s an accounting term that literally means “paid in full.” It was all charged to His account. As if He committed every sin we will ever commit, past-present-future; but He committed none of them.

Hanging on the cross He was holy (undefiled).
Hanging on the cross He was spotless (sinless).
Hanging on the cross He was never (for a split second) a sinner.

“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor 5:21). Truly, that is the ultimate sacrifice. A great exchange known as the doctrine of substitution: whereby God treated Him as if He lived my life, and then treated me as if I lived His life!

Yes. As we enjoy 2017’s Memorial Day, let us do so with profound gratitude.


 McManus, John C. The Dead and Those About to Die (New York: Penguin Group, 2014). 4.