This country is in a struggle over many things. We struggle with our wealth, our consumerism. We struggle with our pride, seeking to gain an advantage in political, economic, and clandestine cat and mouse games with other political powers. And we struggle with our conscience.
We are quietly ashamed over our war in southeast asia forty years ago. We don’t care for the way we entered, and especially the way we left. We treated our soldiers shamefully when they returned, and in general we simply wish we had done something different during that decade.
Today we make exagerated efforts to distinguish our feelings between the warriors in the field and the politicians who wage it. We take great pains to make certain that we tell ourselves, and the world, that we “support our troops,” no matter how we feel about the war itself. (Though I think if we really want to support our troops we would be willing to pony up a little more money to help their families, increase their death benefits, and fix the V.A. hospitals, but I’m getting off topic).
Now I’m not setting up any sort of argument to take one side or the other on our current war in the middle east. But it has gotten me thinking.
There have been wars we supported far more. In particular there was the war sixty years ago. World War II.
Our country debates over the right thing to do in Afghanistan and Iraq, but once we entered World War II we supported not only the troops but the war effort in general in far more substantial ways than we do today.
People saved foil, and tin and string. People rationed sugar and rubber and meat. People did all they could because they felt called to do it. They felt that it was what they had to do, to sacrifice, to give up a little here and there, or even a lot here and there, to provide the materials needed to fight that tremendous war on two sides of the planet.
Perhaps it is because we felt in that war we were fighting a tangible evil (today we are less certain about who, what, and where the evil may be). Regardless, people believed they heard a call, a cry for them to do something.
It isn’t all that often people feel called to do something, to sacrifice something. At least not in this country.
I was talking to a friend the other day about how difficult my current situation is. He said something that really caught my attention.
I can't say exactly what he said here (I don't want to talk about my situation here). But this part I can say:
“God is calling you to stay steady, to hang in there when it is a difficult thing for you to do. You haven’t any choice. You have to do as He asks.”
I believe he is right. There is another voice saying: “Hang in there, Will. Hang in there.”
I am being called to remain steady as a husband, as a man, as a follower of the Carpenter. I really do not like this situation, sometimes I feel like it is driving me insane.
But those words were encouraging. They helped me to see that it is sometimes OK to sacrifice a little.
Perhaps it is easier to believe in something, to stand up for something, whether it is tyranny or faith, when we are called to make tough choices.