“Courage is fear holding on a minute longer.” – Gen. George S. Patton
As Joshua prepared to lead the Hebrews into Canaan the Lord’s words were ones of courage and assurance.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.
Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged,
for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9
Today the nation honors our military personnel for their service and sacrifice, for their conduct and courage, for their duty and defense. We remember those who gave their lives for the cause of freedom as we salute those presently serving. We give thanks also for the families who stood beside, stayed behind, and said goodbye, acknowledging their sacrifices and service as well. May we honor them each day by utilizing the freedom they secure to better serve God and humankind. This is a continuing role of Wayland’s mission.
In his farewell address to the Corps of Military Cadets at West Point in 1962, Gen. Douglas MacArthur spoke the following tribute to the American soldier. “The soldier, above all other men, is required to practice the greatest act of religious training – sacrifice. In battle and in the face of danger and death, he discloses those divine attributes which his Maker gave him when He created man in His own image. No physical courage and no brute strength can take the place of the Divine help which alone can sustain. However horrible the incidents of war may be, the soldier who is called upon to offer and give his life for his country is the noblest development of mankind.”
The psalmist also sought God’s divine help as he faced his enemies.
“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
my God, my strength, in whom I will trust;
my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” – Psalm 18:2
In 1876, Daniel C. Roberts, Civil War veteran and rector of a small Episcopal parish in Vermont, penned a new hymn for his congregation to sing for the American Centennial. The hymn was chosen later to be sung at the centennial celebration of the United States Constitution in 1892. The hymn Roberts penned was “God of Our Fathers.” This Veteran’s Day those words still hold true.
God of our fathers, whose almighty hand
Leads forth in beauty all the starry band
Of shining worlds in splendor through the skies
Our grateful songs before Thy throne arise.
Thy love divine hath led us in the past,
In this free land by Thee our lot is cast,
Be Thou our Ruler, Guardian, Guide, and Stay,
Thy Word our law, Thy paths our chosen way.
From war’s alarms, from deadly pestilence,
Be Thy strong arm our ever sure defense;
Thy true religion in our hearts increase,
Thy bounteous goodness nourish us in peace.
Refresh Thy people on their toilsome way,
Lead us from night to never ending day;
Fill all our lives with love and grace divine,
And glory, laud, and praise be ever Thine.
If you are serving or have served – God bless you and thank you!
If you have a loved one serving or who has served – God bless you and thank you!
If you lost a comrade, loved one, or friend in the line of duty – God bless you and thank you!
Our words, our tears, our praise are not enough, but again we must respond – God bless you and thank you!
On behalf of all of the Wayland Baptist University system – God bless you and thank you!
Director of Church Services / Assistant Professor of Religion / Assistant Director of Ministry Guidance