He Never Looked Back

He never looked back.  He hugged his mother and me, told us he loved us, and walked from the car into sacrificial service without so much as a hesitation.  I, on the other hand stood gazing after him, wishing that someone would spring from behind a bush and announce, “You’re on TV’s Bloopers and Practical Jokes!”  No such luck.  That little boy who bounced through childhood like Tigger is now a hulking young man with a cocky, powerful stride, yet still possessed of a tender, compassionate heart.  In nine weeks the Army would leave its imprint on him.

Just six months later, my wife and I endured the same scene again.  Like some recurring nightmare we watched the broad back and powerful shoulders of my eldest son walk down the same path.  Their destinations would be different; Iraq and Afghanistan.  Their experiences; as far apart as the headwaters of the Tigris and Arghandab Rivers, yet each marched forward without so much as a glance to the rear.

I know that I am not the first dad to endure this life changing event.  I walked down this well worn path with my friend Russ not long ago.  His son, at the time, was counting down the final days of an enlistment in the U.S. Marine Corps.  I knelt in prayer with him as Rusty left for Iraq. I rejoiced with him when Rusty came home safe and sound.  He assured me that he would in turn, walk that path with me.

The imprint on His son would be lasting.  Thirty years of woodworking would certainly leave a carpenter’s hands calloused and scarred.  Yet his touch was tender enough to comfort even the smallest child.  That young carpenter, whose birth caused angels to sing, now knelt in acute agony.  In that prayer of complete surrender, he made certain of the Father’s will.  He strode from the garden through the narrow corridors of a torturous night, arriving at Calvary bruised, bloody, and condemned.  He was scarred one last time; for me.

Oh what private pain must have pierced the Father’s heart as the hour of separation loomed near!  What indescribable anguish must have gripped Him who judges sin, upon seeing His son become the subject of judgment!  In that moment of selfless sacrifice, God’s own son embraced the cross.  He cried out at the stab of alienation from His Father.  He became my Savior.  From the manger in Bethlehem to the place of the skull, not once did he ever hesitate; he never looked back.

Comments

  1. Thank you for raising such fine young men. Please tell them they are being prayed for. How selfless, putting their lives on the line for our freedoms. This type of sacrifice was one of the motives behind “Occupy the Altar”. We have such respect for our military and it was alarming to see that the freedoms they were fighting for were being misused here. Prayer is the only solution to our country’s problems. Pray humbly, specifically, and with brokenness.

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