Prayers for Evangelical Believers:
Grief for A Soldier Killed in Battle
by Ed Vasicek
Note: Although I did not know Kokomo native Marine Lance Cpl. James Swain who died in Iraq serving his country, I wrote this prayer to honor and comfort the families who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Ed
Although Your Son died to save our souls, we are reminded time and time again that others still die to preserve our freedoms and assure our security.
Although we hate even the idea of war, we know that cowering in a corner and playing the role of a victim is a worse fate than the tragedies and losses of war. But the price tag of freedom is so expensive! We know, deep down, that no one should have to pay such a price. How precious is each human being, designed in Your image! How can one whose life is so intertwined with ours, someone who has brought us so much joy and pride, be suddenly taken from us? It seems impossible. We cannot believe it. We do not want to believe it. But we are forced, kicking and screaming, to face this tragic reality square in the face.
It is one thing to read of strangers from locations other than our own who have died for our country. We honor them and appreciate them, but they are names printed alongside two-dimensional photographs. The closer to home our losses, the more the awful realities of war and terrorism overwhelm us. When it becomes “us” and not “them,” we are forced to remember that this world is still under the Curse. Our Father, we ask you to comfort those families and friends who have made this ultimate sacrifice of their loved one. Although the honors of dying for one’s country and securing freedom are noble causes, this consolation does little when we are crushed within. A flag can honor a son or daughter lost to war, but it cannot replace that dear one, nor can it heal our broken hearts. A military salute can remind us of honorable service, but it cannot soothe the desperation in our souls or the sense of utter helplessness in our spirits. Somehow we feel we could have prevented all this, but we know we could not. Somehow we still believe we are experiencing a bad dream, only to wake up and find out that the nightmare is nothing less than reality.
But You, our Father, are the God of all comfort. You know the beginning from the end. Although Your ways are mysterious, the cross proves Your love for us. Life isn’t fair, but You, O Lord, are just. We have but two choices: to weather the storms with You or without You; the storms will come either way. We choose to embrace You and find strength in Your gracious comfort.
Lord, You understand the pain and agony of sacrificing a Son to benefit and free others. You, our God, feel our grief. Since You know the pain in our hearts, You can help us to hobble along, wounded as we are.
We have You. And in You, the Almighty and Compassionate One, we find the promise of eternal life, a reunion of those who know You, and the pledge of an eternal friendship. One day, it will all make sense to us.
We pray in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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Highland Park Church
516 West Sycamore Street
Kokomo, Indiana, USA