This is a guest blog by one of our church’s most faithful members, a great friend, and a former United States Marine Dana King. I’m honored to publish his words. This post is actually the written version of a sermon that Dana delivered for me recently when I was out of town.
Below is a photo of Dana and my son Abishai during a practice sword-fighting bout.
Recently, David and I went to see the new movie 300: Rise of an Empire.
In it there is a scene where Athenian General Themistocles was waiting for a report from one of his top men, Scyllias, who had just returned from a daring mission on the Persian Command Ship. Scyllias entered the room followed by a young man, who was unknown to Themistocles. Seeing his General’s raised eyebrow, Scyllias explained, “This is my son. He is unworthy to sit at the table of combat veterans but you may trust him”. At this, the warriors gathered round the table to discuss the developing situation, while his son sat against the wall, listening.
I myself am the son of a veteran. When I would talk to him about his time in uniform or far off lands. I now longer just saw my just my father. I saw a man; a man who had experienced and endured hardship, a man who helped keep the wolf (or more accurately, the bear) away from the doorsteps of our homeland. I longed to be like him, to be tested and accepted by other such men because I had been proven worthy of their trust and friendship.
Now I am the father of a young man who hungers for stories about my time in the Corps, the men I served with and the campaigns we fought. He seeks to be a part of the class of men that face danger with a stiff spine and resolute heart. Just as I had when I was as a boy.
Though all too often, as parents, our first instinct is to remove any specter of harm or degree of danger from every situation. Does doing so make it safer for the child? Of course it does but perhaps there is a better way to do more than protect and shelter our children.
In the Book of Daniel Chapter 3 we find the Jewish captives Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego defying King Nebuchadnezzar’s command that they worship the false idols and Babylonians Gods. When they refuse, Nebuchadnezzar has them bound and tosses them into the furnace.
3:23 But these three men, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, fell into the midst of the furnace of blazing fire still tied up. 24 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astounded and stood up in haste; he said to his high officials, “Was it not three men we cast bound into the midst of the fire?” They replied to the king, “Certainly, O king.” 25 He said, “Look! I see four men loosed and walking about in the midst of the fire without harm, and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the god! 26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the door of the furnace of blazing fire; he responded and said, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, come out, you servants of the Most High God, and come here!” Then Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego came out of the midst of the fire.
Before they were tossed into the furnace, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego said in verse 17, “If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire.”
As parents we must equip our children with the tools of Faith, character, love and resolve they need to overcome their adversaries and obstacles. We must impart this knowledge onto them so that when they are trapped in the furnace of this world, they may be delivered from it.
It is said that the hardest steel is forged in the hottest flame.
Our children deserve the opportunity to have their steel hardened. To be made strong.
To, in time, be worthy of a seat at their fathers table.