I appreciated the note at the end of the Ken Burns’ documentary. The film was dedicated to all who were wounded and died in a necessary war on our behalf. WWII was unspeakably gruesome. From the atrocities of Hitler’s madness throughout Europe, and particularly in the death camps, to the horrible slaughter of women and children in China by the Japanese (until recently unacknowledged by many in Japan), the war was both a display and the result of human depravity. Yes, American soldiers occasionally retaliated in inappropriate ways, but for the most part we should be humbled and grateful for their sacrifice and service to defend liberty. Hitler had his sights on America, and Japan owned the Pacific. We would live in a very different world today were it not for the bravery and service of millions–of (in some respects) an entire generation. So many fought voluntarily and thought little of their sacrifice (including Japanese and African Americans, sometimes ostracized even after they returned).
Denny Burk is right: the relative peace, prosperity, and security most of us enjoy is the exception, not the normal human condition. And while untold yet unspeakable suffering still occurs throughout the world, King Jesus will someday return and right every wrong:
“But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.
Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”
– II Peter 3:8-13