J. D. Pendry
I heard the voice of the Lord saying.† ďWhom shall I send?† And who will go for us?Ē† And I said, ďHere am I, Send me!Ē - Isaiah 6:8 NIV
The Dogwood is in bloom.† Each tree provides a unique umbrella of large pink and white blossoms.† Morning songbirds returned from winter are whistling a symphony.† Occasionally a dog taunted by a squirrel barks out of tune, but the back porch on a Spring morning is still a great place for contemplation and meditation.† The morning air is still a little crisp.† Steam rises visibly from the coffee mug.† Soon, a lawnmower will cough out the noise of civilization. Before then, I have something to ponder with you.
This Bible verse from the Old Testament book of Isaiah is a popular one for soldiers.† I urge you to read the full text.† In case you donít have a Bible handy, hereís a link for you.†† Itíll take you less than a minute to read.† By reading it, youíll understand the difficult mission for which the Lord commissioned Isaiah.†† It was a long and difficult mission.† Isaiah knew his purpose.
In the coming days, writers more eloquent than I am will try to figure out who Pat Tillman is and why he did what he did.† I didnít listen to the weekend news programs.† I needed to have this talk inside my own mind in the quiet of the morning.† I did not want my thoughts competing with the thoughts of others.† The more I looked inward, however, the fewer answers I found because that is not where the answers are.
What motivates a person to give up wealth and fame to serve his country as an enlisted Army Ranger - knowingly destined for combat?† Would I have done that?† Would you?† I served a lifetime in the Army and I canít answer that question.† I know what Iíd like my answer to be, but I canít truthfully say thatís what it would be.
There is some talk nowadays about reinstating the draft so that all Americans may share the burden of war.† The claim is that middle class and lower middle class Americans take on an unfair share.† How profound.† When in the history of our country has this not been true?† A personís wealth is not the issue.† The desire to serve oneís country and realization that there may be a greater purpose in life than self is the issue.
I served in both Armies, conscript and volunteer.† What I know is that you cannot change a personís attitude toward service by drafting him.† Those who were well connected didnít serve then and they wouldnít now.† The only thing a draft might accomplish is to reveal to our fanatical enemies just how few Americans there are who are actually willing to take up arms against them.†
The purposes of a manís heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out. Ė Proverbs 20:5 NIV
I donít have answers.† I do have a firm belief.† I believe that every event is for a reason and every life is for a purpose.† 911 taught us that true evil still exists in our protected world.† It taught us much about ourselves as a people.† Pat Tillman had a purpose.† As the proverb implies, maybe he was the only mortal who understood his purpose.† Articles written at the time he enlisted said he felt a need to give something back to the country.† Everyone reading this knows that Pat Tillman could have been a recruiting poster boy during his time in service.† He chose instead to serve just as others did, with no fanfare and no special treatment.† That spoke volumes about his character and courage.† He taught us that the greatest gift anyone has to give is his selfless service to others.† My prayer is that all Americans are having the same self-chat as me.
The search for the purpose of life has puzzled people for thousands of years.† Thatís because we typically begin at the wrong starting point Ė ourselves.† We ask self-centered questions like, What do I want to be?† What should I do with my life?† What are my goals, my ambitions, my dreams for my future?† But focusing on ourselves will never reveal lifeís purpose. Ė† Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life
Since 911 America has lost many Pat Tillmans.† All of them were serving a greater purpose than self.† Unlike many of us, I believe they truly saw the blooming Dogwood and heard the music of the songbirds.† Itís not a draft that we need in America.† Itís more Pat Tillmans.
††††††††††† The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me. Ė Psalms 138:8