Several years ago I was cleaning out my grandparents' house, as we prepared to move my grandmother to smaller accommodations to manage her ever-increasing health needs. Much of her house had rooms that had been untouched for decades, including my grandfather's quarters. He had passed away in the spring of 1994, but his room, his dressing area and bathroom all looked as if he had just been out on a walk and would soon return.
Sorting out the items on his bedside desk, I opened the slender drawer and found this pocket-sized New Testament Bible with a rusted, metal cover. Upon further inspection, I sat down while holding it gently in my hand, as I realized the treasure I had accidentally come across. At the onset of World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt commissioned these Bibles to be given to every American soldier heading to the front lines. The Bibles were sized to fit snuggly in their left-side chest pockets. The heavy, metal covers were inscribed with the words, "May the Lord be with you" and were intended to help stop bullets from reaching soliders' hearts (which apparently did happen according to other sources).
The inscription on the inside, front cover reads:
The White House Washington
"As Commander-in-Chief I take pleasure in commending the reading of the Bible to all who serve in the armed forces of the United States. Throughout centuries men of many faiths and diverse origins have found in the Sacred Book words of wisdom, counsel and inspiration. It is a fountain of strength and now, as always, an aid in attaining th highest aspirations of the human soul."
Signed: President Franklin D. Roosevelt
Today, I keep this small Bible on my desk where I see it every morning. Lately I began to reflect on this generation, known to many as the greatest generation. I realized how many men and women joined the war efforts because their generation believed they had the power to make a difference. They didn't feel sorry for themselves, they were not idle and they didn't turn away from the insidious evil that was trying to swallow nations whole.
They knew something about themselves......they knew deep within they were world-changers. World-changers who focused on the revelation that they had the power to create change for the better, and not only for themselves, but for generations to come.
They knew how to carry hope.
Full of grit and integrity seamed together by an unbreakable unity, they set out to confront the darkness with the word of God tucked in their shirt pockets. Not only were they equipped in the natural, but they carried the mighty sword and truth of God in the spiritual. Clothed in courage, their focus was on their opportunity to impact a hurting and scared world with freedom, hope and life.
Sadly, throughout the decades to the present, we seem to focus on how bad it is versus how great God is. Instead of waking up wondering how we can make a difference for good, we tend to shrink back from the impact we allow the world to have on us, making us hesitant, afraid and stagnate. We've forgotten how to carry hope.
But it's time to dream again.....It's time to dream with God and ask how we can make a kingdom impact of radical love and joy in a world that is desperate to find its true love.
It's time to dream with God and ask Him to invade those stagnate places in our lives that seem insurmountable and unattainable. He wants to equip us to surpass the blessings we received from the greatest generation's gifts of grit and perseverance to this world. He wants to arm us to be the most dangerous generation taking out the darkness with His powerful love. His love which transforms and lights hearts on fire for His glory and courageously carries His banner of hope.
It's time to dream again and wake up to the reality that we are armed and dangerous....the darkness doesn't stand a chance.