Seeds-of-PeaceThis week, we celebrated Veteran’s Day. This is a day that we celebrate and remember the sacrifices that many women and men endured for this country. The freedoms we have come at a cost, and sometimes an ultimate cost as those in service lay their lives down for those they will not ever meet. Although many of them seem to have a strong façade, there are many things that they have endured which has had an impact on their lives. Many can tell you of times they have felt afraid, hearing shots ring out, and feeling the fear of what was to come.

The horrors that they have witnessed, the nightmares that don’t seem to go away, the stories that they don’t like to tell. These all have an impact on their lives. My grandfather served in World War II and was part of the army who fought in Italy. He was involved in some intense fighting, but would not talk about those times. I can only imagine what he witnessed during those times. John 15:13 says; “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down their life for their friends.” This is lived out in each and every soldier who faces battle, who put themselves in harm’s way for the sake of others.

I am reminded of a man named Desmond Doss. Desmond was a medic in the army during World War II. He was a conscientious objector, because he didn’t want to pick up a gun, even though he would be on the front lines of battle, performing medical procedures. Through his courageous actions, Desmond was sowing seeds of peace, even in the midst of war. There was a movie produced about his service called “Hacksaw Ridge.” In this film, there is a turning point for Desmond as he discerns the calling he has to this service. Following this moment, Desmond begins carrying his fellow soldiers out of the battle zone and lowering them down the cliff to safety. After delivering another soldier to safety, he would climb back up the cliff to search for another one. Each time he would pray that God would help him save one more.

Desmond Doss saved between 50-100 men from certain death that day, all without a weapon of war. Seeds of peace, sown for the glory of God. He gave a powerful witness to all who saw him running across that battlefield looking for the wounded, all those he saved from certain death, all those whose lives were changed because their loved ones came back from the war.

The world faces many atrocities from evil that runs rampant. On July 28, 1914, war broke out in Europe. One of the most devastating military events this world has ever seen. All coming from the need of power. It is said that once in charge, a man named Ludendorff, wanted to lead the German forces all over the world and conquer everyone. He wanted all the power, and nothing but complete victory was acceptable. So he continued to push, well past the point that he should have retreated. He allowed his arrogance to cloud the reality of what was happening around him.

An eventual agreement would be reached, an armistice. But even while the political leaders were discussing this peace, the fighting waged on. In fact, allowing over a half million people to die during the negotiation period. 2000 on the day the armistice was signed. This agreement all but destroyed Germany, the harsh terms annihilated Germany’s military force. Had this agreement come earlier, maybe the seeds planted, would have been those of peace. As it was, this agreement which brought peace to the war to end all wars, planted seeds of humiliation, anger, and resentment, not peace. This was a flawed peace, it was a seed planted that would soon grow into something far worse.

Germany plummeted into political turmoil, into a revolution. The seeds of humiliation brought an ugliness and strong hatred into this world as Adolf Hitler saw 1918 as a turning point in his life. The way this war ended, sowed seeds of the next greater war. What seeds are we planting today? Do we continue to repeat history with our actions? Do we plant more seeds of hatred, or are we looking to plant those seeds of peace?

There are times I wonder, as we hear about the birth of ISIS and other radicalized groups. Were the actions of many during Desert Storm or other conflicts, seeds of humiliation or hatred planted? How do we change the course? How do we bring a different view into this world?

As we remember this 100th anniversary of the Armistice to end World War 1, and we hear the bells peal of the victory celebration, I ask you to reflect on not only what happened only a few decades after the Armistice was signed, but of what true peace can bring. I also ask you to think of how you can sow seeds of peace in your own life, reaching out to others.