Edmund Burke said, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Tragically that’s happened in America, even in our churches, over the past fifty years.
Prayer, Bible reading, the Ten Commandments, any sense of morality, even God, Himself, have been removed from virtually every arena of public life in America while many of the pulpits of our nation have remained remarkably silent.
Patriots have been replaced with pacifists. Old Glory burned by those never willing to fight for her. The Star Spangled Banner stained by the selfishness and carelessness of those who never really appreciated the price paid to enable us to sing about “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” And patriotism, the innate ability to know there were some things in life and liberty worth fighting for, has been buried beneath the sands of complacency and callousness to the sacrifices made for freedoms enjoyed and too often, taken for granted.
Hampton Sides, in his book, GHOST SOLDIERS, wrote: On January 28, 1945, 121 handpicked troops from the U.S. Army 6th Ranger Battalion slipped behind enemy lines in the Philippines. Their mission: March thirty miles in an attempt to rescue 513 American and British POWs who had spent three years in a hellish camp near the city of Cabanatuan.
During the successful rescue effort at Cabanatuan, one of the Ranger's medics, Dr. Jimmy Fisher, was gunned down. Still alive, but weak, they transported him to a makeshift hospital in a nearby barrio. Doctors began immediately to operate in an effort to stop the massive hemorrhaging of his liver and to remove the shrapnel lodged in his colon and small intestines.
What inspires me most about that story is that Dr. Fisher’s friends and fellow soldiers went all out to save him.
After surgery, the doctors concluded if Fisher were to live, they had to get him to a fully equipped Army hospital quickly. They radioed for a small plane to fly to Balincarin and evacuate Fisher. In the author’s words, “There was a glaring problem, however: Balincarin had no airstrip. With the audacity peculiar to his outfit, Bill Nellist, ordered his Alamo Scouts to go build one – overnight. By torchlight, they selected a suitable swath of land on the barrio's outskirts. For five hours, as darkness segued into dawn, the workmen stooped in the rice fields with hoes, rakes, even wooden spoons. They graded and leveled, tore down the paddy dikes, and pulled away vegetation.” They worked all night, never stopping to rest. Some used only their bare hands.
By early morning, the makeshift airstrip was complete. It was crude, uneven and bumpy, but was done. Unfortunately, Dr. Fisher didn’t live through the morning. He was tenderly buried at the base of a fruit tree at the edge of Balincarin.
What inspires me most about that story is that Dr. Fisher’s friends and fellow soldiers went all out to save him. Some might have said, “It’s no use. We don’t have an airstrip. It’s impossible. We can’t get a plane in here.” But those soldiers said, “We’ll build an airstrip ... just for him.”
Can you and I do any less for our country? Should we stand by and give up just because the circumstances seem impossible? Should we give in and say, “There's nothing we can do. America is a lost cause?” Or should we do whatever it takes and give it all we’ve got to save our country?
God told His people, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14) Is it wrong for us to ask God to heal “our land?”
When a nation forgets God, God will forget that nation. But, when a nation remembers God and puts Him first, He’ll bless that nation. (Psalm 33:12-22)
This weekend you and I have the opportunity to remember and thank all the VETERANS who have done “whatever it takes” for 240 years, for you and me and every person who has ever had the privilege of being an American.
My prayer is simple: “God bless America, land that I love. Stand beside her, and guide her through the night with a light from above. From the mountains, to the prairies, to the oceans, white with foam. God bless America, my home sweet home. God bless America, my home sweet home!”
© 2016. Barry L. Cameron
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Today, more than 8,000 people call Crossroads their church home. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.