Devotions: In My Father's Footsteps
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… to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of
When I was about 10 or 11 years old, I remember playing Army with a friend of mine. We even had army
uniforms and toy wooden M1’s.
At the time my parents were building a house in Fox Lake Hills, Illinois.
When the house was just a poured concrete foundation, the backyard was all dirt with numerous holes and
mounds. These became our fox holes and mortar holes.
We also had an empty boat trailer in the backyard and that became our B-17 bomber.
This was 1975 and I had no concept of real war. Viet Nam had just ended but I have no memory of anything
about that war at that time. There were a handful of movies about the Korean War and World Wars I and II that
I was somewhat familiar with. But for me, at that time, war was just a game we played.
I don’t think that anymore. I now know people who fought and bled in war. I’ve known people who have lost
loved ones in war. I have the deepest respect for all who put on my country’s uniform and protect us from all
enemies foreign and domestic.
In getting to know people who have worn or continue to wear my nation’s uniform, I’ve come to appreciate the
high cost of winning a war.
In a phrase, it takes “boots on the ground.”
A country’s military can drop bombs or fire missiles at an enemy – to great effect. But unless troops are on the
ground it’s near impossible to actually win a war.
God knew this was the case in the war against Satan and death. Which is why Jesus came to walk on this earth.
God put “boots on the ground” (okay, sandals on the ground) to win us back from sin, death, and the devil.
Jesus became a human being. He walked the path we walk – yet without sin.
In fact, Jesus came to walk with us in order to make a path to salvation.
700 years before Jesus’ birth, the prophet Isaiah foretold that the way to salvation would be a path that would
be made straight.
Jesus made the path of salvation straight and narrow for us. His path led from Bethlehem’s manager to Calvary’
s cross. It would be a path that led through a tomb to the very gates of heaven.
That path would be ours because of Jesus.
And we would know about the path because of people like John the Baptist. Upon John’s birth, his father
Zechariah said that John’s ministry would be “to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of
death, to guide our feet into the way of peace” (Luke 1:79). John would do this by pointing to the one who put
“boots on the ground” – Jesus Christ!
As a child I thought war was just a game kids played.
As an adult I know better and hold those who go to war on my behalf in the deepest respect.
As a child of God, I thank him with all my heart that Jesus also went to war – and won. He won me and all people
back from sin, death, and the power of the devil.
Now I want to follow in his footsteps to heaven.
And now I want to follow in the footsteps of John the Baptist and point others to Jesus, who brought light and
guides us all in the way of peace.
O God, I thank you with all my heart that Jesus went to war – and won. He won me and all people back from sin,
death, and the power of the devil. Help me to be like John the Baptist and light and guide others in the way of
peace. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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