Brave

Four U.S. Marines stood together as one before their adversary. They knew if they failed everything would be lost, possibly even their lives. They had called for support, but it was slow in coming. Other men had tried before. Marines, Army, Navy, even the Air Force. Headway had been made; many were left wounded. Some did not survive.

These men were survivors. People called them heroes. That only emboldened their antagonist. He stood there mocking the 4 Marines. “It’s like in the movies or television. You kill a few bad guys, and then come home and party.” But they knew that wasn’t true. How many of their friends had they seen killed? How many brothers had pieces of their arms and legs scattered on the road, or embedded inside a humvee? Somehow, they had survived. None of them could explain why they weren’t in that vehicle, that helicopter, called for a particular mission.

They lived for months, sometimes years, in constant danger. Your newest local friend could shoot you in the back. No place was safe. No place is safe. Coming home to the adulation felt so out of place, but if the admirers understood what real horror looked like they would not cheer. They would grab everyone returning, hold them, and weep together. If they knew what had to be done to survive the hours of nothing and terror they might back away in shock.

For centuries everyone tried to discount this truth, to bury it under pomp and circumstance. Parades, flowers, and kisses were the balm for the terror inside those who appeared strong. Sure the men drank, most too much. Winks and nods came as people walked by and pretended everything was fine. Then war dragged on for years, later half a decade, then a decade, fifteen years. The consequences piled up. Those who survived the trip home could not survive at home. Victims of the demons and ghost that returned in their gear.

Theories came, simple answers sought. Acronyms created, so we did not have to face what we had done to our children. Although our children had died, and men had grown in their place. Men who are hard, alone, and often lost in a world that cares nothing for what they had done. A society that thanks them for their sacrifice and service without desiring to know what the words even mean. One leader went so far as to call those carrying these horrors “weaker than others.” A man who had never stepped into their world, but demanded to lead it.

Four men stood together. Four brothers in arms. They knew they could not rely on those who had not walked in their path. They knew they could not rely on those who promised always to bring them home. Those people only dropped them off. The four men knew they had each other. They would seek out other brothers and sisters who fought the dark enemy that demanded their soul if he could not have their body. They would hold each other up. Show death and darkness they were still brave. It was their rescue mission, and they would succeed. Not only for themselves but for the memory of all who had gone before.


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Risky

Greg stood there on the beach, the sand whipping against his skin from the winds of the storm. Debbie stood stiffly next to him, her eyes wide. Greg could not make out the strange man’s response in the wind. “I’m sorry, I couldn’t hear you. Would you repeat that?”

“I said I’m here to make a drug deal.”

Greg stepped back. he was not sure what to do. Their training was to share Jesus with college students on Spring Break. Not tackle the soul of a drug dealer. He knew the situation was risky no matter what decision he made. If they tried to take off the dealer could decide they were some sort of snitches, and that never ends well. If they stayed and told him why they were there he might get defensive. A defensive drug dealer was not necessarily a good person to be around.

Greg knew the answer. He and Debbie were the only two students crazy enough to go out in the storm to see if there was anyone who needed to hear about Jesus. The strip was predictably empty. Even though the rains had stopped, the sandstorm kicked up by the winds made being near the ocean miserable. Yet, they both felt they had to be there. They spotted this man standing alone in the empty gazeebo. Surely this was why they were here.

Greg screwed up his courage and faith. “Okay, what’s your name?”

“Mitch.”

“Mitch, I have a question I bet you never have had anyone ask you. Do you have a relationship with Jesus Christ?”

Disbelief showed on Mitch’s face and he began to laugh. “Nobody has ever come up to me and asked that.”

“Do you mind if we talk?”

“Naw man, we’re cool.”

Greg and Debbie shared how they felt compelled to be outside, and how God was wanting him to know He is there for him. Mitch shared his story of the streets. Greg and Debbie were almost giddy. They were sure they would see this good man stuck in a bad situation delivered, but then another man walked up.

He didn’t give his name. He was more of a young man than a real man. He looked out of place with his jet black sunglasses in the midst of a tropical storm. The man was jittery, almost jumpy, and the situation had just gotten a lot riskier.

“Who are these two!?” he demanded.

Greg could see the wounded look on Mitch’s face. “I guess you guys better go. It was good talking to you.”

“Same here, Mitch. We’ll be praying for you.”

“Why are they praying for you.” The paranoid man took a step towards Mitch.

“Easy man, they’re just friends, it’s all cool.”

Greg and Debbie expedited their steps away. It was obvious they had completed the part God had for them.

Decades have passed since that fateful day. Greg often thinks of that man standing alone and wonders what happened to him. He asks himself, “if God told me to be that risky today, would he still do it?” Somewhere inside, beneath the years of hard work, betrayals, forgiveness, and pain a still small voice says, “Yes.”


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Today’s word from The Daily Post- Risky
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Love

Harry stood by the water’s edge. It was the end of a perfect day. “Why can’t all days be IMG_0198this perfect?” he wondered to himself. The sun reflected off the infinite calm waters and reminded Harry of how small he was in this world. God’s love for him exceeded what he could imagine. Still, his soul longed for more. “Why isn’t life always exactly like this? Why is there so much strife and drama?” Harry felt a hand slip into his. Darla had walked up unnoticed. She whispered in his ear. “You know I love you, but I have a question.”

Harry’s world came crashing in. There it was, “I love you but.” His head started spinning inside. “There is no but after love. It’s even worse when a question follows. The questions normally entail, “When are you going to clean the garage?” or “Why don’t we have more money?” or “Did you know a check bounced?” Here, in this paradise, buts and questions were going to ruin his perfect day. Harry held on to his composure. “What’s your question sweetheart?”

“How did I get so lucky?”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean you. I feel like I always complain. What do you do in return? You encourage me. You work hard to provide for us. You bring me here.”

Harry’s heart soared. All was right in his world. He quickly asked God to forgive his cynical heart. “Honey, if God didn’t give me you, I couldn’t have become the man you are talking about.”

The two stood silently together. Thankful for their blessed moment.


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