A thought, a memory and a salute to veterans the world over including both world wars, the Korean, Vietnam and all other wars.
From a spiritual standpoint, the burden many of the enlisted and drafted veterans bear in silence is grievous indeed. I knew many veterans were hesitant to recall their undertakings of the war, but until the other day, I didn't really understand the pain they felt or the real reasons why until I had a conversation with a retired WW II vet.
It may have been just a chance meeting, but now I feel it was somehow divinely predestined. If this article proves helpful to any of our fine veterans, to me it will always seem some sort of plan, especially for Veterans Day.
The other day an interesting thing happened to me at the Carson Station where I sat next to an older gentleman I occasionally see there with his wife. As some time passed, we began a conversation which somehow resulted in a discussion of World War II.
As a VFW auxiliary member who'd just received her 10-year pin, we soon engaged in backgrounds. He was a World War II veteran, as was my father and my grandfather, Captain George E. Lang, a retired veteran of the first World War. As the conversation continued, it was considerably noticeable this man still bore great pain and guilt from the war. It saddened me greatly to see his anguish. My heart went out to him and his torment.
Even now, my father, Albert Smith, will barely remark on the horrors of war, not even at his grandson's urging. To get him to converse about the war is like pulling teeth with a pair of tweezers.
As our conversation deepened, I tried to explain to him what the Bible says regarding war, that even though a man may be forced to kill another human being, the guilt lays within the society or system of the ruler who so ordered war in the beginning. It is not a sin to be a soldier in a just war or being forced into the physical act as commanded by government - the soldier should not bear the guilt. He is not guilty and the Lord has already forgiven him.
The Bible shows these rulers, although many are evil and against the love God stands for, a single person will be forgiven for following these orders of death and destruction. He wanted verses and passages, which for the sake of me, I could not recall at the time. I thought for a moment I was saved when I looked and saw the pastor's son there. Inviting him into the conversation for help, we both tried to reassure the gentleman. But like me, he could not remember the exact verses either.
Since I'm an Old Testament buff, the passages of the New Testament escaped me. Regarding this an important matter to many veterans of the world, I phoned Pastor Chuck, who I'd been blessed by meeting years ago through mutual friends while he and his wife were on a visit here from California. I value his opinion with extreme respect. He is very wise; a divine messenger. He had proven himself highly knowledgeable and full of wisdom when I'd formerly questioned him on the Bible following up research on my book "The Unspoken" which parallels the Bible, ancient history, myth and geological evidence, to be published soon.
As we conversed, looking up passages and so on, he told me of an old friend of his who had been many years getting over the feelings of hatred he had felt for his enemy while in gruesome and bloody battles. A hatred pressed upon him in boot camp, a hatred against a fellow person which goes against a person's natural grain. While some feel guilt over the thought of actually killing another, others bear the pain of the hatred toward the enemy they felt in the process of war. These topics are important and should not have to be concealed in silent pain. It was certainly important to this fine gentleman regarding death resulting from a kill.
So with this new knowledge, it made me see the hidden misery so meaningful to the many fine veterans throughout the world. I hope this article helps bring peace and understanding to many because through a meeting, a question, a phone call, a friend and a computer, I bring you a couple of passages in the hope you will find wisdom and some peace. Reading the entire chapters will bring forth a deeper understanding to each individual and is well advised. As for soldiers being forced into war, we see in Romans 13:1
Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. :2 Therefore, whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment upon themselves. :3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil.
Being mere humans there are any times in life we feel confused and don't understand the reasons behind certain cruelties and abuses. Yet we have to keep the faith as to God's universal plan. Without my faith, I could never have made it this far and wouldn't be writing this article today.
Soldiers are already forgiven. We see forgiveness comes from a merciful God in the First Epistle of John 1:7
But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. :8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. :9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. These will be among those who inherit the kingdom of God.
There are other passages but as this deadline quickens, my time to research them decreases. From a spiritual standpoint, I hope this brings all veterans a little peace of mind and restful sleep. God bless. There are times when most all of us have had to live through a hell on earth. I have, but the horrors of war are almost unimaginable.
Andra Farmer has been a Nevada resident for 21 years, 15 years in Carson City. She can be reached by e-mail at Holynews@aol.com