Wounded Warrior

A man on the radio this morning had two reasons to call in. First, he wanted to thank all veterans for their service. Second, he asked for prayer for his son who had served two tours in Afghanistan and had returned home wounded.

The men and women who have worn the uniform of their country deserved to be saluted and appreciated. Those who come back with the horrific injuries of body, mind, and soul need more than our gratitude. The Wounded Warriors Project is one of the organizations that have responded to offer practical and continuing care to those who can easily slip through the cracks when our government, our society, doesn’t respond as we should. We cannot allow these veterans to be forgotten.

There are many vivid images of Christ in Scripture. He is Lion of Judah, the King of kings; He is the Alpha and Omega and the bright Morning Star; He is the Lamb of God and the Savior of the world. One of the most striking portrayals is found in the book of Isaiah when He is described as the Wounded Warrior, the Suffering Servant.

Often we like our heroes to be bold, dashing, attractive, and larger than life. Here is how Isaiah’s hero is pictured: “There was nothing beautiful or majestic about His appearance, nothing to attract us to Him. He was despised and rejected – a man of sorrows, acquainted with bitterest grief. We turned our back on Him and looked the other way when He went by. He was despised, and we did not care” (53:3 NLT).

It would be rare to find someone who woke up one morning and decided that he or she would be a hero that day. On May 26, 2008, Sergeant Leroy Petry, on his seventh deployment, was a member of a team of soldiers tasked with capturing a Taliban target. In the ensuing firefight, he was wounded in both legs and continued to fight. When a grenade landed between him and two other soldiers, Petry grabbed it and tried to throw it away. He saved his two buddies but lost his right hand. Still he fought until his comrades took him to safety. For his heroic act, he was awarded the nation’s highest recognition, the Medal of Honor. Wearing a prosthetic, Petry re-enlisted in the Army and now assists wounded soldiers and their families.

And how was the Wounded Warrior in Isaiah rewarded? “Because of this, God raised Him up to the heights of heaven and gave Him a name that is above every name. At the name of Jesus, every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10-11).

Wounded warrior Leroy Petry saved his two buddies. Wounded Warrior Jesus saved the world. Such sacrifice humbles us.

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About Mark Wilbanks

Dr. Wilbanks became Wieuca’s fifth senior pastor in February of 2012. Mark’s father, Oliver Wilbanks, served as Associate Pastor here from 1966 to 1982. Wieuca had a tremendous influence in shaping Mark’s call to ministry during his teenage and young adult years. A graduate of both Southern and New Orleans Baptist Theological seminaries, Mark has served churches in Kentucky, Florida, and Georgia. He pastored Southside Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida for 17 years and Bradfordville First Baptist Church in Tallahassee, Florida for ten years. He and his wife, Kim, were married in 1979 and have two sons, Andy and Jordan. Andy is married to Lindsay and they have a son, Cade, a daughter, Ruthie, and welcomed their third child, Samuel, in October.

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