“I hate war!”
I love the military, but I hate war! I understand and wholeheartedly support that it is an absolute must that we defend ourselves as a nation, and I guess I also understand what Thomas Jefferson was thinking when he said “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” But I hate the reality of young men blown up, burned up, shot up, captured, tortured, and if not killed then maimed for life. I don’t believe war is Hell, but it is hellish in its very nature. I hate it! And in the grand history of wars, I dare say that many men fighting had everything to lose and little to gain. The grunts don’t make the decisions, they just pay the price.
But I think I love General George Patton! I’m not a Patton aficionado, but I’ve seen the movie. With thoughtfulness I must address one of the nicknames assigned to Patton, “Old Blood and Guts” which, according to legend is a reference to his lust for battle without regard for the lives of his troops. How can I hate war and love “Old Blood and Guts”? I must try and imagine that I can think for the General. He could easily say, “I don’t start the wars, I just manage them.” True enough; it’s Kings, Imperials, and Idiots who start the wars, and those three would make a very nice Venn diagram. There is definitely some major intersection there. How many deaths of ours, and his, was The Führer Adolph Hitler responsible for? Patton never did that, he simply served at the pleasure of the politicians. In one sense, Patton is like the plumber – you’ve got a mess, you call him, he cleans it up. But what about Patton’s supposed disregard for human life; what about the infamous “casualty reports”? Well, when bullets start flying, somebody is going to get hit. Maybe Patton felt that some battles would be bloody, but in the long run, they would save more blood than they lost. If General Patton never knowingly sacrificed lives, then I can live with it, (if you’ll forgive the contrast in terms.)
As Christians, we’re all in a big war, and this one is for all the marbles! Eternal death in Hell itself (The Lake of Fire) are the consequences of losing this war. Men’s souls are on the line, and we have our own General, the “Captain of our Salvation” (Hebrews 2:10). Jesus leads us into battle, bears the risk and reward even better than the best of us, and He understands that there will be loss of life, but then, gain of life. “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” (Matthew 16:25 KJV.) For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. (Philippians 1:21.) This is a war well worth fighting, and our General died to save our lives. Blood and Guts? Sure, but wait: It was Jesus who shed his blood, and He had a spear run right through his own guts. If anyone ever “took a bullet for us” it was the LORD Jesus Christ!
I hate war, but that Tree of Liberty has been planted and watered with the blood of the greatest Patriot who ever lived or ever will live. I volunteered to serve under Jesus, and while I hate the war, I know that ultimate peace is just over the horizon. “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27.) There will be no more death when this war is finally over, and thank God, to the victor belong the spoils. I read the back of the Book, and we won! This one really is “the war to end all wars!”
Now there’s a “Pattern” we can follow!
Love and Prayers to you all,