Definition: The surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim.
You may have heard about the military helicopter that was fired on and went down in Afghanistan over the weekend killing 38 international military coalition members, including 30 US service members. I heard about it when I happened to be in a restaurant and saw the report on a television there. I thought about it several times after that and thought about the families of those service members. I thought about the people involved, the mission they were on, and the fact that because there are people willing to serve in this way I have the freedoms I have in this country. These service men saw these freedoms as "having a higher or more pressing claim" than even their own lives.
There are many freedoms that we have had since the founding of our country that have been challenged, but the fact still remains that I can live freely here in my country. It is easy to remain removed from the reality of the sacrifice that service members make, not to mention their families' sacrifices, as well. If you are not directly connected to someone involved, it can be difficult not to take for granted what these men and women do for us. But, I want to be faithful and pray for them. I want to be faithful and pray for our leaders.
Perhaps I had already stopped thinking about this helicopter that went down and the lives that were lost as as result. I pretty much moved on to my daily life and forgot thinking about the families that now are grieving. Then this morning, I learned that I actually knew one of the men who gave his life when that helicopter was attacked. I went to high school with him, and I went to college with his sister. His family was a family that I admired while I went to the same youth group shortly after I began to follow Jesus back in high school.
Suddenly, even though I hadn't been in touch with Aaron or his family much over the last ten to twelve years, the story became more real to me. As I watched the videos and read the stories today, I felt more of a connection with these service members and their families then I knew how to before. Though I only knew this family briefly, I knew their love for Jesus and their love for each other.
I don't know this kind of sacrifice.
Thinking about this today really made any sacrifice I thought I had ever made pale in comparison. Making a sacrifice to put down something I want to do in order to spend time with my husband or children, though valid, did not seem like much of a sacrifice anymore. Being willing to consider someone else over myself, didn't seem like that big of a deal.
In a society like ours, sacrifice is often not seen as a strength. I pray that these service members will be honored in the way they deserve for fighting for our nation, for freedom, and for each one of us. I don't know how the news organizations will cover this story. I don't know how the families will feel about that coverage, but I do rejoice in the ways at least this one service member, Aaron Vaughn, is being remembered.
So many Americans are embarrassed to be American and fail to recognize not only the sacrifices made to found this very republic, but also the sacrifices that are made to uphold it! There is a lot of misinformation out there that leads to disdain for our founding fathers, US service members, and the leaders who have served our country, many of them sacrificing everything to do so. Respect is what they deserve. I thank God for them!
After hearing about this loss that the Vaughn family now has to endure, and watching this interview from the Today Show, I kept thinking of this passage of scripture from John 15:12 and 13:
"My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."
Jesus spoke this to His disciples. It is still true today, and those of us who follow Jesus are called to this kind of love. Of course, many of us won't be called to this kind of sacrifice. The question is, though, are you willing?
May we be prayer warriors for these families and those who serve our country. May we be willing to appreciate their sacrifice and be thankful.