In 2006 I walked barefoot on the sands of Normandy. I stood alone on that awe-inspiring beach. In the gentle sounds of the waves, I could hear the cries of sacrifice and death.
More than 130,000 troops were crammed onto 1,000 transport ships. None of them wanted to die that morning, but over 4,000 did. They died for my freedom. They died so I could, on this day, choose to come to Normandy and wiggle my toes in that sand.
Rommel had the entire coastal wall fortified with tank-top turrets and extensive barbed wire, and he had laid a million mines to deter any landing craft. Although the German forces were occupied with Russia in the East, the Normandy coast was still guarded by four divisions.
Working their way up the sea wall, blowing holes in the German defenses, the men of the 1st and 29th Divisions and a handful of Rangers, without armor, broke through the German lines and they were there to stay. By late that night 34,000 men were ashore with more to follow.
The engineers transformed this quiet beach into a major seaport–overnight.
The invasion was only the beginning, but by the time it was over, close to 5,000 men died here on this sand and on the nearby rock walls. They gave their lives for us. They died for their children and their children’s children.
That sacrifice makes this sand sacred ground!
We have trouble with sacrifice. When is the last time you sacrificed, without complaining, or expecting reciprocity? I am fearful the concept, like the word itself, is just slip-sliding away,
For the believer, sacrifice isn’t a game to play in order to manipulate the outcome, it’s a lifestyle that focuses on making God look good, even when it costs us.
Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice. He died for us, for our present and our future. His death was a sacrifice, but so was HIS life. He lived for us; he lived to show us how to put God’s glory ahead of our own.
He was really good at it, much better than we are at following his example.
It happened in February of 2011, in Madison, Ga. Anaiah Rucker and her little sister, Camry were crossing the street in front of their house, when everything went wrong. Anaiah didn’t see the truck till it was too late. Then, at the last possible second, she knocked Camry out of the way.
Camry was saved, Anaiah was struck by the vehicle. She was alive but critical and broken. Her injuries were severe; two broken legs, one of which was amputated, a broken neck, and a lost kidney.
She survived, but was forever changed. Sacrifice does that to you.
Often we see media reports of everyday people who risk their lives to save others: in the aftermath of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, during military combat, home fires, and car accidents. But, Anaiah’s bravery is a testament to the instinctive urge to sacrifice for those we love.
Learning to adjust to life with only one leg is just one of Anaiah’s new challenges. She will face the long-term impact of life with limitations. However, Anaiah is already learning to see her story as a message of hope and testimony beyond her years.
Who has sacrificed for you? If they are still alive, name them, call them, text them. Thank them for the gift.
You can honor them in three ways:
- Say thank you! (Just a simple thank you, no big production).
- If they are dead write a tribute to them and post it at http://thefaithcommunity.org
- Sacrifice for others. Be willing to do what needs to be done, when it needs to be done.
- Do you live to make life better for someone else, or better for yourself?
- Where is your sacred ground?