Do not fear

I’m not supposed to post anything about my opinions of war or the government or anything like that due to my job, but I think we can all agree that peace is ultimately what we all want. Today is the 12th anniversary of 9/11 as well as a day where several nations are on edge about what’s going to happen in Syria. War and peace are on everyone’s mind, and there’s an edginess to this day. I just walked to the Shoppette (our convenience store/gas station on post) a few minutes ago and THREE armed guards were there at the door checking ID cards, apologizing for “inconveniencing” me.

I’m pretty sure 9/11/2001 ranks up there in the top 10 scariest days of my life. Others being the day I got on a one-way flight to Germany, the day I said goodbye to my best friend at his hospital bed, and the day my Young Life girls made me do the jump at the end of the ropes course at Windy Gap. It was terrifying. Disconcerting, disorienting. Like the rug was pulled out from under me. I tried to resist fear because that’s exactly what the terrorists wanted us to feel and that’s why they did it. 9-11 was about taking away our feelings of security.

Living in Germany has really changed the way I feel about America. Not in a negative sense, or in a positive sense either actually. It’s just changed. I have now seen America from the outside. I can say that before I came over here, I thought America was the sh**. Superior in every single way, from the way we have bigger grocery stores to the power we have over other countries. I just thought we were the best.

Now, I’ve seen through the eyes of several groups of different people. I’ve seen through the eyes of military kids and families incredibly weary of and damaged by war, yet willing to go where the Army sends them for the sake of their country. I’ve seen through the eyes of Germans caught between thinking American soldiers are manufactured “killing machines” and their friends.  I’ve seen through the eyes of American soldiers who go proudly to a war they disagree with because it’s what they signed up for and well, they have “orders.” I’ve seen through the eyes of citizens of a country humbled by the holocaust and envious of the patriotism of Americans.

I no longer think America is the sh**, but yet I am more proud then ever to be an American. I’m proud that fear didn’t get the best of us on 9/11. That we have services and memorials to remember and commemorate that day and we let it turn us into patriots instead of fearful people. I’m proud of the men and women and families who have faced the fear of war, moving to new places, losing friends and family, and suffered courageously in many different ways for these last 12 years. And I no longer fear what’s going to happen because I have learned to not put my faith in a country or a president or guns. Maybe Germany doesn’t have it all together, but neither does America. This is why we need a Savior.

A bunch of people in Jesus’ day didn’t believe he was the prophesied “Messiah” because he didn’t come in guns (or swords) blazing to take over the world and protect people from the “evil” government. I wonder, are we acting any differently today? Refusing to put our faith in Jesus but instead in our government and in our country? We freak out if anyone threatens to take away our guns, our country’s security, our confidence in our country’s leadership…I tend to do that and from the looks of my Facebook feed, so do many of you. We are motivated by fear.

At our Czech Republic Service Project this summer, I stood up with 2 of my American teenagers and led the popular Sunday School song “He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands” in a circle of little Czech children who eagerly did the hand motions and sang loudly. It was enough to make you cry just at the cross-culturalness of it all. Yet, I don’t even know if they knew what they were singing since they didn’t really speak English.

Do we know what we’re singing?

Do we have the faith to sing a song like that? I feel like I get scared about one thing or another about, oh, every 5 seconds. I literally have to remind myself every 5 seconds of the truth in a Sunday School song, that’s how fearful I am naturally. However, what happens when I am able to stop, look my fear in the face, and remind myself of that truth, is in Philippians 4:7: “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

God said “do not fear” 365 times in the Bible. There’s a reason.

Bonus: I’m loving this song right now. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOkImV2cJDg

EDIT: A good friend told me that “do not fear” is actually mentioned more than 100 times, not 365. Source here. Same principle, still applies.

pod day 12 – general patton’s grave

It was really cool getting to go to my 10th country, Luxembourg, and visit the grave of General Patton. He requested that he be buried there. I’ve been to American Military Cemeteries in Arlington, Cambridge (in England), and now this one, and it overwhelms me how many soldiers gave their lives for freedom. It’s so much more real when you’re standing there looking at their gravestones all lined up, so many you can’t even count (there are 5,076 buried here). Other interesting facts about this place are that there are 101 unknown graves, one female nurse, and 22 sets of brothers, including 2 best friends whose parents requested they be put to rest next to each other.

I just get prouder and prouder to be serving military families every day.