Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans Day

Experts from today's post were originally published on June 27, 2006

Today is Veteran's Day, and I'd like to honor a friend of mine:

Justin Davis
Son, Friend, Youth, Soldier
Child of God
1987 - 2006

On June 26, 2007, I received a heartbreaking call from the Youth Pastor of my church telling me that a former youth of mine, Justin, who was located in Afghanistan, had been ambushed and did not survive. Justin was barely 19, young, full of life, with a contagious grin. His mother's only child. A beautiful young man with so much potential. But yet, God knew his plans for Justin's life.
Several months prior, he was deployed to Afghanistan. On his last Sunday at church, he told me he was afraid and started to tear up. I hugged him, and for some reason, I felt led to grasp his face. I said to him, "Justin, know that you are a child of God. Be sure of your relationship with Christ before you step foot on the plane to go over there. Be certain that you can always cry out to God, and that he will never, ever leave you." He assured me that that he was a Child of God. Saved. He knew God was with him, and would not leave him. He knew who he could call on. I hugged him, and prayed over him. I prayed a hedge of protection around him. I prayed that God would put a fleet of guardian angels around him. I prayed that he would always sense God's presence.

We were both misty eyed, but I knew in my heart, and still to this day feel, that Justin was where God wanted him to be. Justin was in a place that tested his faith. It required him to really believe in something he couldn't see or feel or taste. Justin had to lean on God with all he was worth. He never would have been challenged in his spiritual walk like that here. If Justin had not enlisted in the Army, I don't know what his future would have held back here, but I'm certain that if Justin had been faced with a tragic end here at home, he may not have cried out to God. Why? Because we have everything here in America. We have no need to lean on God as if our life depended on it. But in Afghanistan ... that's all you have. That, and your fellow soldiers.

Justin was was a member of the A Company, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 10th Mountain Unit. The 1-32 Infantry has hundreds of men stationed in the high mountains on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the soldiers spend an enormous amount of time in the field hunting down the enemy. It is difficult work, and it can be dangerous, but the soldiers are masters of the task. You can see why they need our prayers!

Justin served bravely, along side hundreds and hundreds of our armed forces - men and women.
To each person out there still protecting our country, thank you for fighting bravely. Your lives are different when you return home... permanently changed from all the atrocities you see on a daily basis -- horrible things I'm spared from because you are over there protecting us.

On this Veteran's day, I thank you! It's not much, but it is from the bottom of my heart.

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