One hundred years ago this Sunday, November 11, marked the end of the deadliest conflict in human history up to that point. What started as a result of the assassination of the heir to the Austrian throne, quickly spiraled into a war that engulfed an entire continent, lasting four long years. The reason for this war soon became lost on the thousands of soldiers who fought and died in a seemingly endless war of attrition from the fertile plains of eastern Europe to the muddy trenches of France. From 1914 to 1917, the war had ground to a halt between the Central Powers, led by Germany, and the Entente, led by Britain and France, as both were locked in a bloody stalemate. The entrance of the United States into the War in 1917 against Germany turned the tide in favor of the Entente.
By the Autumn of 1918, Germany was forced to ask for an armistice, ending the fighting. Both sides agreed that the armistice would take effect on November 11, 1918. Thus, on the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month, the guns fell silent across Europe. Some countries celebrate this day as “Remembrance Day” in honor of those who died in the horrific war. The United States commemorates this day as “Veterans’ Day” in honor of those who have served in America’s armed forces. Either way, November 11 reminds us of the costliness of war – however necessary – and the preciousness of peace.
What can the Christian glean from this? At the time, many came away from the war having lost their faith in God, an attitude which permeated art and literature in years that followed. Yet, as Christians, we know that God is sovereign. The events of history are not just simply a string of causes and effect, but rather it is an unfolding story of God’s work in bringing about the establishment of His Kingdom. The believer knows “that all things work together for good for those who love God…”(Rom. 8:28), and can take comfort in the promises of God, even in the face of tremendous pain and suffering, as history is approaching its ultimate, glorious end. As we observe this day in honor of our veterans, let us pray for peace between nations, as well as peace with God, looking forward to the day when the Prince of Peace comes again to establish His rule on Earth.
John Thomas Justus is a TMU Graduate and current Master’s of Theology student.Return to News Archive