For some of my longest known friends, and for many others, this image will no doubt resonate the truth which Major General William Tecumseh Sherman, leader of Union forces during the US Civil War, famously declared in an 1879 address to the Michigan Military Academy, when he said,
“War is Hell”.
There is hell in war and too often that hell remains in the soul long after the war is over. That hell is like “a river of toxic waste” flowing through one’s inner being and emotions. It seems to taint everything, even when it is against the will to do so. This is a reality many returning veterans face. It is also the reality that Jesus Christ has assumed in his humanity, taken down into death, and left behind in His resurrection. In His ascension and out pouring of the Holy Spirit, he is able to share with each one of us His Spirit; the Spirit of a man who has literally gone to Hell and back.
There is no depression so deep, no darkness so black that Jesus Christ cannot enter into it and there share with us the experience of His communion and love of His Father. He has been there and knows it as a man. Our personal experience of sharing in this eternal love and fellowship of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is what we were all predestined to and what the bible calls our adoption as sons (Eph.1:3-14). When the light begins to dawn on us that God has not begrudgingly done this, but rather according to the pleasure of will, has from all eternity, determined to lavishly include us in Christ and thus in Himself, the “river of toxic waste” begins to flow clear. We find rest for our souls as living water wells up and overflows. May you know today that you are included, and respond with “Amen” to God’s eternal “Yes” to you in Jesus Christ. He’s had your back soldier…from all eternity.