Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Were You There"1 (Lyrics)
We remember the bad times, the bad news, and the bad people who have affected our lives by what they have done. Every day, television and newspapers scream out tragedies, horrific devastation, and suffering. Our minds are automatically drawn to such events.
But what about the good times, the good news, and the good people who have affected our lives and the lives of others by their good deeds and actions — the unsung heroes whom we don't hear about — people who changed the world for good?
Let us think, for example, about the fire fighters, the search and rescue personnel, and the police, the heroic men and women who risk and sometimes sacrifice their lives, so that we can live in safety and peace.
After the United States Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850, making it illegal to assist black slaves escaping to their freedom, a secret network of black and white abolitionists helped African-Americans escape from enslavement in the American south to free northern states or to Canada. Hundreds of people risked their lives and made tremendous sacrifices as genuine heroes of what became known as the Underground Railroad, the largest anti-slavery freedom movement in North America, which brought between 30,000 and 40,000 fugitives to freedom.
The 100-year anniversary of the four-day Battle of Vimy Ridge in the First World War was celebrated this past week from April 9th to 12th. It helped to define Canada as an independent country, rather than a British colony. The 97,184 brave soldiers of all four divisions of the Canadian Corps, which fought together for the first time, suffered 10,602 casualties — 3,598 killed and 7,004 wounded — but their heroic sacrifice marked a significant Allied advance in the war, hastening its end.
There are many other people who have sacrificed themselves in order to bring about much-needed changes in this world. Their sacrifices, though, are nothing compared to the greatest sacrifice of all time: God the Father sacrificed His Son Jesus to suffer and die on the cross for the sins of the whole world.
For all of us.
For you and me.
To receive the forgiveness that He died to purchase for us, all we have to do is to believe. "But my faith isn't strong enough," you say. The Bible says:
Romans 10:9-10 – If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. (NIV 2011)
Let's make sure that the praises of our risen Hero are sung tomorrow!
Prayer: Lord God, thank You for moving within the hearts of unsung heroes. Continue to move within each and every one of us so that we may give compassion to those who need compassion, bring peace to those who are in turmoil, render aid to those in need, and share the good news of forgiveness and eternal life that You offer as a free gift to all people. Amen.