On May 30, 2016, the United States will once again take part in Memorial Day: a national, annual observance set aside to honor and remember Americans who died in war. Occurring on the last Monday in May, Memorial Day began as Decoration Day following the Civil War and slowly evolved into the unofficial "start of summer" we know it as today. But isn't there more to it than that?
The God of the Bible has a clear vision for their future: freedom from war.
The war with the most American casualties was also fought on American soil. It was, of course, the Civil War, totaling approximately 650,000 deaths. The American Civil War is followed by World War II, which resulted in over 400,000 American deaths, and World War I, with about 116,500 dead. The list of conflicts and casualties goes on, seemingly without end: the Vietnam War, Korean War, Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Mexican-American War, Iraq War and even the ongoing Afghanistan War and Operation Inherent Resolve. Is there hope for a world without war?
God has a great plan of salvation and hope for those lost in war and their families. Humanity's prayers for peace and an end to armed conflict will finally be answered. The prophet Isaiah writes that nations will one day "beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore" (Isaiah 2:4). Never again will a heartbroken mother receive dreaded news from the battlefield and lose her only son in combat. God will remove the scourge of war from mankind forever and install His great peace—the Kingdom of God.
Amazingly the innumerable casualties and victims of war will experience physical life again: "Thus says the LORD God to these bones: 'Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the LORD'" (Ezekiel 37:13). You can imagine the distraught mother, seeing her son for the first time since he left for boot camp. It's difficult to picture this great reunion without choking up.
Any injuries inflicted during war will be instantly healed. Paralysis, blindness, hearing loss, and amputation will no longer scar and afflict men and women of the military. "Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb sing" (Isaiah 35:5-6). The young man will be just as strong and able-bodied as his mother knew him.
This Memorial Day, Americans are asked to remember those who have died in service to their country. The God of the Bible has a clear vision for their future: freedom from war. And for the most heartbroken mother, He has the most powerful message of hope: you will see your son again.