Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Saving Private Ryan

"I hope that, at least in your eyes, I've earned what all of you have done for me."

Scenes from the movie Saving Private Ryan have played over and over in my head in the past week. The movie tells the story of 8 soldiers who have been given orders to go behind enemy lines during World War II. Their mission is to find a Private by the name of James Ryan. Three of his brothers have made the ultimate sacrifice of their lives during this war. Their mother will be told of all three deaths on the same day. Seeking to alleviate some of her misery, it has been determined that the fourth brother, Ryan, will be pulled from service and sent home.

The eight men on the mission make many sacrifices, including the lives of some of their own men, in order to save Private Ryan. At one point in the film, Captain Miller says, "He better be worth it. He better go home and cure a disease, or invent a longer-lasting light bulb. “Finally, after much searching, they discover Ryan, but he is unwilling to leave his post.  Duty outweighs the desire to be safe at home. As a battle ensues, Captain Miller is ultimately injured.  In his last words, he says to Ryan, "Earn this...earn it."

The scene shifts and we see an elderly Ryan standing at the grave of Captain Miller.  Among things he says, we hear these words, "Every day I think about what you said to me that day on the bridge. I tried to live my life the best that I could. I hope that was enough. I hope that, at least in your eyes, I've earned what all of you have done for me."

That is the scene that has resonated with me. Through our battle with The Nuisance, so many people have sought us out and made sacrifices to improve our situation. There have been gifts of prayer, time, cards, food, encouragement, flowers, visits, money and love. We have been so overwhelmed by them and have been humbled to see how people have been so willing to save our family. We have thought over and over that we can never repay all the kindness that has been shown, but we are so eager to try. We want to live our lives, like Private Ryan, in a way that earns all you have done for us. We want to be worth it. I don't know that I will cure a disease, or create a longer lasting light bulb, but I do intend to live my life in a way that makes it all worthwhile. We are so grateful!

On an even grander scale, I realize that someday I will stand before another that I desperately want to please. I will face my "Captain", one who paid a high price for my healing and my salvation.  Isaiah 53:5 has been a verse I have thought of repeatedly through my battle. It says, "But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed."  Jesus, like Captain Miller in the movie, made a sacrifice of his life for me. Captain Miller may have helped save Ryan's life, but Jesus' sacrifice has saved my soul.  When it is all said and done, and I stand before Him in heaven, I would like to be able to say that I have done the best I can to earn what He has done for me. Unfortunately, I can never do enough to earn it. Gratefully, His grace covers my shortcomings! I hope, that at least in God's eyes, that in the end He can say I have lived my life in a way that shows I was grateful for all He has done for me.

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