This dedication is found in my more recent Holiday, USA series: Thank you to John McDougall, Chaplain, U.S. Army, for giving me permission to mention his book, Jesus Was an Airborne Ranger. It inspired and strengthened me in my battle to follow my Commander, the Warrior Jesus.
In his book, I found the Jesus I recognized, powerful and compassionate, courageous as a lion and gentle as a lamb, a fighter and filled with limitless love. Like many, I grew up hearing about the babe in a manger, meek, mild, gentle, long-suffering, merciful, all good things and yet... Though I knew He was all powerful, all knowing, all everything good, something was missing.
A few books gave me a peek into a different Jesus. The movie Passion of the Christ touched on what I was beginning to recognize. Jesus' love demanded more. He doesn't simply want me to give everything to Him, He demands I give him everything. I'm holding my fist full of dirt and crying because it's all I have. If I let it go, my hand will be empty. In my head, I know Jesus offers more, but I'm only a child. He begs me to release the dirt. He's even told me what He wants to give me, everything. It's a difficult concept for a child to comprehend.
At the same time, I'm battling dragons like abuse. I know Jesus is able to heal me, but how can the peaceful Jesus I'd known all my life appreciate my fight?
A few years ago, I read Lone Survivor. What Murphy did for his friends is what Jesus did for us. My part is to draw the line in the dirt and drag myself that far like Luttrell, until rescue comes. I've wanted to quit more times than I can count, but I kept drawing that line. Make it a little further, even when it was only inches.
Gradually, I discovered the warrior Christ. He calmed the storm and crushed the serpent's head.
I read God's Word a little differently now. He knew what I'd be facing. He admonished me to put on the whole armor of God, breastplate, shield, helmet, sword. Those are battle clothes. He knew, and He warned me, and He provided what I'd need.
On this Veterans' Day, I thank the warriors who have fought the wars of this world so that I could live in freedom, allowing me to pursue the Warrior Jesus, my hope and my refuge, my Savior and my King.