Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.~John 15:13 ESV
Bill stood at attention with his right hand raised as he repeated the enlistment oath. He didn’t know he would soon experience a sacrificial love story.
Bill had volunteered to give his life to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies. After basic training, he would be shipped off to war.
In August 1981, I took the same oath and signed my life away to protect the US Constitution and the people of the United States. At twenty years of age, I hugged my parents and boarded a bus, headed to Lackland AFB in San Antonio, Texas. I served four years and fortunately avoided all conflict. However, between World War I and the present, some 623,297 men and women have given their lives so that we can enjoy our freedom.
One of those who died in combat was Bill’s best friend, Tommy. They met in basic training and helped each other through eight weeks of vigorous training. They were shipped off together to fight the enemy and had survived thirty-three days of fighting when the unthinkable happened.
Bill was injured and unable to walk. Suddenly, he heard someone shout, “Hand grenade.” Without a pause, Tommy threw himself on the explosive to protect Bill, who lay just yards from it. Tommy’s sacrifice saved Bill’s life, and the memory of it never left Bill.
Our world fights a war between good and evil. To win, we needed a Savior. We couldn’t save ourselves because a deadly sinful nature infected us. All the sacrifices in the world couldn’t clean us up. Satan had us locked in a prison of regret with no hope.
But God loved us so much that He gave His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
— John 3:16
God loves us unconditionally and gave His Son to release us from Satan’s grip. The sacrificial love of Christ delivered the death blow to Satan’s head and defeated hell, death, and the grave (Genesis 3:15).
Throughout basic training and the days of war Bill and Tommy experienced, Tommy repeatedly talked about John 3:16 and John 15:13. He told Bill that Jesus was his Lord and Savior. After Tommy’s death, Bill couldn’t get those scriptures out of his mind. When Bill returned to the states, he asked Jesus into his life.
Several years later, Bill recalled the memory of his friend’s sacrifice as he spoke at a men’s meeting. He told the group that one man saved his physical life, but that the most important life was the eternal one–the one his Lord and Savior had saved.
I hope you have let Jesus Christ forgive your sins. If you haven’t, pray to God and ask Him into your life today. Also, remember our military personnel around the world. They have signed a blank check that could lead them to sacrifice their lives.
Take a moment daily to thank God for our military heroes and to thank Him for allowing His Son to make the greatest sacrifice of all.
Lord Jesus, I thank You for Your ultimate sacrifice that allows us to be free from sin’s grip. I also pray for our active military personnel and their loved ones. Keep them safe, and if they are called to make the sacrifice, I pray they know You as Lord and Savior. Amen
Copyright 2023: A Sacrificial Love Story: Ed Chappelle: All Rights Reserved