I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. Psalm 91:2-4 NIV
As we prepare to observe and celebrate Veterans Day on November 11th, we want to begin by saying in the greatest of respect and the deepest of gratitude, “Thank you!” to all of those who serve and have served in our United States Military. We thank God for you and your service as we have prayed and commit to continue praying faithfully and fervently for you and your families.
In the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918 armistice was marked between the Allies and Germany ending the first World War. Irving Berlin was serving in the U.S. Army in 1918 and composed the first version of “God Bless America.” Irving Berlin was born in Israel to Jewish parents who came to America from Russia when he was five years old, and the words in this song are an overflow from his heart and written as a prayer expressing his love for God and this nation. As Adolf Hitler rose to power, Berlin made some minor changes to a few words and reintroduced the song on the Armistice Day broadcast in 1938. The introduction, that is often left out at many current patriotic events, notes that it is a prayer with the lyrics that say, “While the storm clouds gather far across the sea, Let us swear allegiance to a land that's free. Let us all be grateful for a land so fair, As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer.”
Armistice Day is now celebrated in the United States as Veterans Day. It is a day to honor all of the men and women who have served in our military whether protecting and preserving freedom in times of peace or war. We owe them a great debt of gratitude, and of course they should experience honor and thanks every day but it is important to take time today to thank them for their service and sacrifice that shelters us and allows us to live freely each day and sleep in safety each night. At the same time we thank God for them and rejoice that He is their cover and courage, their refuge and strength, as He pours out and provides His protection through them. Psalm 3:3 says You LORD, are a shield around them, their glory, the One who lifts their head high.
Unless you have served in the military or have been a member of a military family, it is impossible to understand the commitment they make and courage it takes to serve, but it is also a unique and treasured opportunity to serve God and country in this calling as well. I carry the perspective of being the child of a career military father who served 26 years and wife of a military husband who served 22 years, and I could write a book on the sacrifices and strife of a military life; but my prayer in this moment would be that everyone serving in the military would pause to look past the fears, finances, and family struggles that we are told we “signed up for” and instead, we would see that military life is woven in the tapestry of God’s goodness, faithfulness, and many unexpected and extraordinary blessings even if it does not feel that way every day. My life is richer because of all the people we met over the years from all different walks and backgrounds of life. I have been in some scary situations and also studied my Bible with many great friends scattered all over the world. I have heard sermons in many different churches and was educated in many different schools. I have seen many beautiful places and faces, all created and loved by God. I have seen great poverty and wealth and both needing the touch and truth of Jesus. I experienced some things that only Jesus could heal but I can confidently say that in all things He has worked for the good and His glory as I have loved Him and been called according to His purpose.
I say all this in hopes that somebody who is suffering in service today will pray and ask Jesus to shield them and show them His good and goodness that they are seeking during a hard or hurtful time. I am writing this today to say, “Thank you!” to all of you who are serving today and to those whose shoulders you stand and serve on throughout our history. Know that God has called you to this incredible duty and that He is always in the battle for you and with you. Know that He is with you even in the darkest of days and scariest of situations. He is your refuge and your strength. He is your strong tower that you can run into and find rest. His eyes are always on you and His ears hear every prayer. Keep your eyes and ears on Him always, never compromise, never lose faith, and know that we are continually, fervently, praying for you. May your heart always sing, as Irving Belin’s did, “God bless America, land that I love!”
Lord Jesus, thank you for all who are serving and have serve in our military pursuing and preserving freedom around the world and here on our own soil. Thank you for blessing America with a brave military of Airmen, Guardsmen, Marines, Sailors, Soldiers, Guardians, and Troops. We ask not only for their safety but their success in every assignment, in peace and at war. We also pray for the spiritual success of every divine assignment that you have authored onto the pages of their lives wherever you establish them to live and serve. May you Word, will and ways be walked out in their lives as they put on the full armor of God each day with their uniform. Lord we ask that no scheme of the enemy, no weapon formed against them will prosper. Keep us as watchmen, battling with them in heavenly places. In the name of Jesus, the one who is able to do beyond what we could ever ask or imagine, we lift up our prayer, Amen!
Serving Him with gladness,
President, National Day of Prayer Task Force