No Unknown Soldiers

This weekend I took a few minutes to view a live broadcast of a solemn Veterans Day observance, from the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Washington, D.C. As I watched, a variety of thoughts and emotions captured me.

Unknown, Unfound

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is a white marble sarcophagus (coffin) that is the final resting place and memorial for Unknowns from World War I, World War II, and the Korean War and represents the sacrifice and loss of those who fell during the wars. The memorial was initiated when the United States Congress approved the burial of an unidentified World War I soldier in Arlington National Cemetery on March 4, 1921. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery was dedicated on November 11, 1921.

According to current Department of Defense statistics, 83,000 American service personnel are still missing in action. These soldiers are assumed dead, but are still unaccounted for. They rest in unmarked graves in foreign countries, or out at sea. 73,500 of them fought in World War II; 9,645 in the wars since. Experts hope that an estimated 25,000 to 35,000 persons can eventually be located, due to the circumstances of some of the losses. Many of the unfound lie in mass graves in the countries where they died fighting. Others are buried and memorialized by gravestones declaring them known only to God.[i]

No Unknown Soldiers

Jesus is the “Captain of our salvation” (Hebrews 2:10; NKJV) and we serve as His soldiers (2 Timothy 2:4). When I was a kid we would sing, “I’m in the Lord’s army.” Yesterday, while watching the solemn observance, it hit me that in the kingdom of God, there are no “unknown soldiers.”

As followers of Christ, we serve an all-knowing, all-caring Lord and cannot be, nor will we ever become, an unknown soldier. Here are some encouraging truths.

  • The eyes of the Lord are on us at all times. He sees everything; we are never beyond His care (Job 23:10; Psalm 33:18, 34:15; 1 Peter 3:12).
  • The Spirit of God is in all places, at all times. He knows everywhere we go, everything we do, and is intimately acquainted with all our ways (Psalm 139, Nahum 1:7, 2 Timothy 2:19).
  • Jesus, our good shepherd, knows all His sheep and loses none (John 6:39, 10:10).
  • He is attentive to the needs of the birds of the sky and the lilies of the field. His presence and provision for us is constant (Mathew 6:25-33).

As followers of Christ, we serve an all-knowing, all-caring Lord and cannot be, nor will we ever become, an unknown soldier.

In fact, in God’s economy, even those outside of Christ are not “unknown.” Our all-present, all-knowing God will someday judge the “secrets” of every person (Romans 2:16). Someday, “every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess” the Lordship of Christ (Philippians 2:10). Every eye will see Him at His return (Revelation 1:7).

Cherish His Presence

Practically speaking, this means that every moment of every day we can be assured of His presence with us. Jesus promised, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). The constant, powerful, indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit delivers assurance, peace, comfort, and Christ-inspired significance in every moment for those who know Christ. Jesus gave His disciples, and us, this promise about His Spirit: “You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:17–18).

Brother Lawrence wrote, “He does not ask much of us, merely a thought of Him from time to time, a little act of adoration, sometimes to ask for His grace, sometimes to offer Him your sufferings, at other times to thank Him for the graces, past and present, He has bestowed on you, in the midst of your troubles to take solace in Him as often as you can. Lift up your heart to Him during your meals and in company; the least little remembrance will always be the most pleasing to Him. One need not cry out very loudly; He is nearer to us than we think.” [ii]

One need not cry out very loudly; He is nearer to us than we think.

Known and Loved

It’s been said that the One who knows us best still loves us the most. We are never forgotten because we are deeply loved. We will always be accounted for. Never will we be lost or forgotten.

It’s been said that the One who knows us best still loves us the most. We are never forgotten because we are deeply loved.

A hymn-writer from many years ago wrote these assuring lyrics:

He died for me on the mountain,

For me they pierced His side,

For me He opened the fountain,

The crimson, cleansing tide;

For me He’s waiting in glory,

Seated upon His throne,

He promised never to leave me,

Never to leave me alone.

 

No, never alone,

No, never alone;

He promised never to leave me,

Never to leave me alone.

So today:

  • If you are feeling forgotten in a world that is speeding by faster than you can keep up…
  • If you have doubts about your significance in a social media-driven society that sometimes makes your existence seem routine and dull…
  • If you feel lonely when it seems so many others are well “networked” and constantly surrounded by family, friends, and co-workers…
  • If you wonder if it will really matter much to anyone when you come to the end of your road…

Remember, there are no unknown solders in the kingdom of our Christ. He sees, knows, cares, loves, and rewards you — faithful soldier of Jesus. Fight on in the power of His grace and know that it really, really matters — both now and in eternity.

He sees, knows, cares, loves, and rewards you — faithful soldier of Jesus.

Copyright © 2017 Daniel Henderson. All rights reserved.

[i] http://www.defenseone.com/business/2014/11/83000-american-veterans-are-still-missing-action/98753/

[ii] Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God.