The Loudest Cheers in Heaven

One day, God's invisible heroes will gain due respect.

Heading home to California recently, a friend and I passed through the Dallas–Fort Worth airport. On the way to the connecting gate, we heard loud patriotic music playing and saw a group, mostly women, wearing colorful hats, cheering, and waving American flags. The troops were coming home, and here was their welcoming committee.

Two women encouraged us to grab flags and join in. We were early for our next flight, so we took places in the makeshift greeting line. At first, a few soldiers just dribbled by. We whooped and waved our flags furiously. Then the pace picked up as dozens of men and women in uniform came barreling through. We kept repeating: "Welcome home! We're glad you're back! We appreciate you!" Some soldiers wiped away tears, while others displayed huge, self-conscious smiles.

One young soldier looked not a day over 15. The young women were just like all girls their age: each guy had a backpack, but the girls had rolling luggage loaded up with four or five bags. We laughed. "Women! It doesn't matter whether you're in the Army or heading to Macy's. We have to have our stuff!"

After 45 minutes, it was time to catch our flight. We hugged the organizers and thanked the vets who had come to honor this generation of soldiers. As we sank into our seats for the flight, we felt humbled by participating in this sweet moment of coming home. It was impossible not to draw the obvious spiritual parallels. These men and women had taken oaths of faithfulness and service. They had fought courageously, lived with deprivation, danger, and disease, and took unbelievable risks, all for the good of our nation.

But as great as America is, it is a temporary place. No nation lives forever. As believers in Christ, we are all soldiers ...

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Seriously Disturbed
Kay Warren, cofounder of Saddleback Church with her husband, Rick, is an international speaker and Bible teacher especially known for her work with those living with HIV and AIDS. She is the author of several books, including Choose Joy: Because Happiness Isn't Enough and Dangerous Surrender (revised and republished as Say Yes to God). Her column on international social issues ran from 2008 to 2009.
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