DayBreaks for 4/20/17: Almost Home
From the DayBreaks archive, April 2007:
The little town of Franklin, TN, was the sight of one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. In the space of only 5 hours, 7000 men were killed and thousands of others wounded. In that short amount of time, northern troops alone used up 100 wagon loads of ammunition. Accounts written at the time described bodies being stacked six or seven deep for more than a mile along the Columbia Pike. No one had ever seen anything like it. The state of Tennessee didn’t have enough money to turn the entire area into a state park to commemorate the battle, but in the battleground stands the Carter house that now serves as a museum and memorial to this bloody battle.
As terrible as the battle itself, there was one person who died on that day over 140 years ago that is arguably more tragic than the other 6999. As the battle of Franklin raged, the Carters’ youngest son, Todd, was outside. He was running for the shelter of home when he was struck down and died, virtually in the shadow of the house. He was taken into the home dead. Even today, more is probably written about that young boy who died in the battle than about any of the others who died.
Several things about this story that struck me:
First of all is the power of the death of the innocent. It just doesn’t seem right when a young child is struck down because of the violence of adults. Yet it happens. And when the innocent die, people take notice. An absolutely perfectly innocent person was struck down by our violence and sin. And similar to Todd Carter, much has been written and said about him. Jesus Christ, the innocent, was killed by us and for us. He was almost home when he was “hit”, but he died willingly as a sacrifice – not running in terror.
Secondly, I thought about how close we can come sometimes to being “home free” only to fail to actually arrive there. We can’t control the people and events around us. We know our intent – to get home safely – but sometimes things interfere with our well-laid plans, and in the shadow of the rooftop we fall. I am very thankful that God is the One who will get us home. I rejoice that He recognizes that I can’t make it on my own, that I alone would surely be cut down by Satan’s bullets. He is able to handle our eternal destinies (2 Tim. 1:12). We need to finish the race well, 2 Tim. 4:7-8, and not die in the home stretch.
The saddest thing, though, is to hear about those who are almost on the porch of the house and ready to enter, but who Satan snatches at the last moment. The story of Paul’s defense before Agrippa is heart-wrenching, from Acts 26:28-29a: Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?” Paul replied, “Short time or long– I pray God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am….” There is no evidence Agrippa “made it home”. How tragic and sad.
There are those today who are almost home but who aren’t quite there yet. What a tragedy if we let them languish so close to heaven’s door.
PRAYER: Thank You, Father, for the innocent Christ who died for us. Help us to understand that we don’t control the events that swirl around our lives, but that in You, we are safe forever. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.