In 2003, I had just left Young Harris College and transferred to finish my degree at Erskine College & Seminary. My roommate was a missionary who had spent a significant portion of his life in Niger, West Africa. He was also in the Army National Guard. I remember the night we sat together in our room and listened closely to President Bush announce that we were going to war. It wasn’t too long after that when he received a phone call. It was “the call.” He sat for a minute, staring into his imagination. I asked him if he was okay and he nodded. The look on his face wasn’t excitement, but it wasn’t fear or discontent. His look said “it’s time.” It was truly a “duty calls” moment. My roommate understand what it meant to “go” and to “submit.” This made him a better person in every way, shape, and form.
There are ideals that exist that you either wish to uphold or you learn to as you are tossed into the midst of battle. A sense of calling is always near. The question is “are you ready; are you listening?”
I’m thankful for those who listened to that call, who obeyed the authority above them and stepped in front of terror so that we would or could be spared. For the brave to step into harm’s way to protect others is selfless. Imagine if Christ had left the garden before the guards came to get him. What if he had gone to Egypt and lived the rest of his days in hiding? No. The call to come and die called out to Christ and with his enlistment through baptism, he conquered death and paved the way for resurrection for his people. I think of the scene in “Dances with Wolves,” when Kevin Costner rides across the field and in front of the soldiers who wish to kill him; arms failing in total abandonment. Rather than running, he faced death head on.
Gratitude is due at all times for those who heard the call, fought the good fight, and chased after freedom – a freedom that was attained and realized usually by those whom they fought for and not something ever realized for themselves.