Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia near Washington DC United States

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.  —1 John 3:16 NIV

“Is my daddy going to die?” asked our six-year-old with eyes wide and solemn. Her daddy was leaving that week to fight in the Persian Gulf War. We were stationed in Germany in 1990, and I had rested comfortably in the false assumption that since Ray was already deployed to Germany, he wouldn’t be deployed again from Germany to Kuwait. Wrong. We arrived in Germany in September, and Ray left with his battalion December 15.

I remember the day he left and the agonizing internal scream that unleashed inside me. I remember the dread of tuning into war news to hear what was happening … hoping it wasn’t happening near Ray. I remember the heightened security at Robinson Barracks, where we lived with hundreds of other military families. I remember not going to bed. Just not going. For nights on end, I couldn’t face that bedroom without my Ray beside me. I’d fall asleep on the couch, then stumble to bed at first light to catch a few more hours of sleep. I remember my daughter’s question. I remember realizing that I could not truthfully reassure her that her father would not die. I could assure her that even if we lost Daddy, he would be safe with Jesus. But it was hard to answer. Ray experienced some close calls, but we thank God he came home to us.

This weekend, however, we remember those who never came home again. The ones who hugged families goodbye, steadied their hearts, shouldered their gear, and walked toward danger for the sake of those families. The ones who honored their oaths to their country. The ones who fought against tyranny in faraway places, striving to bring freedom to the oppressed. The ones whose spouses, children, and parents endured unimaginable loss. The ones who died because they loved.

Granted, not everyone fights for the right reasons, not every war rescues the oppressed. But, can we stop today and just remember with gratitude the huge sacrifices made in our country by men and women who did love? Who did fight for freedom? Who did fight because they believed in right over wrong?

Hard on the heels of our remembering—for those of us who follow Christ—comes the memory of the greatest Love of all. The perfect God, who didn’t “need” us in any sense of the word, yet loved us enough to die in our place and rescue us from the sin and evil we allow to entangle us. His sacrifice teaches us what love is.

John appeals to us in the verses that follow our verses above,If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth” (1 John 3:17-18). True love sacrifices. I am thankful this Memorial Day Weekend for every service member who has sacrificed his or her life for love of country, freedom, family, and goodness. I am challenged by this verse to lay down my own life in more concrete ways, in sacrifice, and in giving to those in need around me.

Thank You, Lord God, for love so great You sacrificed Your life to give us life. Thank You for enabling men and women to sacrificially lay down their lives on behalf of others. Help us to love like that. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

You are loved,



Sweet Selah Ministries

Vision To encourage a movement away from the belief that “busy is better”
and toward the truth that stillness and knowing God matter most—
and will be reflected in more effective work and service

To offer resources and retreats that help women pause (Selah)
and love God more deeply as they know Him more intimately (Sweet)

If you’ve been blessed, keep the blessing going!
Click over to our Donation page … and thanks.





Pin it 
Share this on Pinterest.

4 Comments. Leave new

  • Margharet Fowler
    May 23, 2020 9:56 pm

    Beautiful and timely message. We truly are thankful for all who gave up so much to fight for freedom, and for the families left behind, for those who waited, not knowing if their loved one was safe. In the World War, many did not know for years, until peace came at last. Thank God for peace now, and may it continue.

    • Sharon Gamble
      May 23, 2020 9:58 pm

      Oh yes, thank God for peace! I can’t imagine how hard it would be to have a loved one missing in action, with no way to know whether or not they lived. Yes, this is good to remember those who sacrificed. Thanks for commenting!

  • Margaret Fowler
    May 29, 2023 8:17 pm

    Thank you for a beautiful message. And thank you to all veterans who were willing to face danger, to save others. Thank God for our freedom, because of the brave.

  • Kami Dimmick
    May 31, 2023 1:33 pm

    Thank you Sharon for this story. What a great reminder to love with our actions, to go and to be all who Good created us to be… All for His glory, not for man.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed

Next Post
What’s Your Cornerstone?
Previous Post
Second Chances