This past week-end, Janet’s sisters came into town to have a week-end together on what would have been their mother’s birthday on Saturday. While Nancy flew back to Williamsburg yesterday, Janet and I drove Debbie back toward Chicago this morning where we planned to meet her husband, Randy, halfway between our two homes. That way, I could get back to Indy for meetings I had late this morning and it would be easier on everybody than having to drive back and forth all the way to Chicago.
Randy had lighter traffic from Chicago than we did heading out from the north side of Indy. And rather than wait for us in Rensselaer, our pre-arranged meeting place, we asked Randy to head fifteen miles down the road to meet us in Remington, IN. Both of these cities have McDonald’s restaurants where we could get fresh coffee. Unfortunately, I forgot that Remington has two exits and as always happens in these situations, he picked the wrong one. Imagine our surprise when he texted us letting us know that he couldn’t find the McDonald’s but he was waiting at a vacant fireworks store called “Boom City.” I have to admit that I thought the name was clever and when we got there, sure enough, the place was abandoned and we were the only two cars in sight. It was evident that the store and adjacent parking lot had been vacant for quite some time – it was in total disrepair and I can’t imagine doing anything with the area other than tear the building down.
After Debbie changed cars, and they headed back to Chicago, Janet and I got back on the road to Indianapolis and I kept thinking about the place we had just left. I don’t know if it was the association of explosions or fireworks or whatever else was going through my mind, but I remembered that today is Veteran’s Day. It’s that day when we celebrate the dedication of our American troops and the efforts that they expended on our behalf to ensure the safety of our great nation. Many of our troops gave the last full measure of service by sacrificing their lives for our freedom, while millions others have survived wars and conflicts to lead long and fulfilling lives. And while we recognize this day that honors all our veterans, I would be remiss not to acknowledge Memorial Day as well – that time that we honor all our troops who died for the cause of freedom.
I never served in the Armed Forces, but I know plenty of people who have – including both my own father and Janet’s father, who also recently passed away. In fact, the number of WWII veterans who are passing away on a daily basis is staggering and it won’t be much longer before the first hand memories of that war are permanently relegated to history books and archived files.
But there is one war that is as good as won and hasn’t even happened yet. That is one of the battles between good and evil that we are told about in the book of Revelation. In this particular war, that won’t happen for some time yet, Michael and his angels fight Satan and his fallen angels – and Satan is vanquished from heaven. While it’s difficult for us to believe that Satan has access to heaven, he does… well, until he and his legions of angels are cast from heaven when they lose their war with God’s legions of faithful angels. Tonight’s verse tells the outcome of that struggle. We are told, in Revelation 12:7-9, “And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.” Thus ends one of the most famous wars in the Bible – a future war that hasn’t even come to pass yet – but the outcome, a victory for the forces of God, is already known.
My encouragement this evening is to affirm that a life with God and His son, Jesus Christ, assures you of eternal victory as well. My prayer is that you will honor our veterans and thank them for their service to our country – then, that you will thank God for the sacrifice of His Son for our sins – and finally, that you will be grateful to God for the chance to spend eternity with Him – free of the advances of Satan who will spend eternity in hell; not with us in heaven. That, as a result of the forces of good, led by Michael on that future day whose date is not yet known to us. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…