Daddy, do we have to kill them?

A Navy helicopter, taking off right next to my Dad's marina.

A Navy helicopter, taking off right next to Dad's marina

Recently we did a family vacation to Virginia Beach. Those who have been there will be sure to remember that one of the really dominant features is the Oceana Naval Air Station, with F/A-18s constantly flying overhead on landing patterns only a mile or so inland from the strip. My girls already love planes, and they had a lot of questions about these small planes that were so fast and so noisy. We’ve already talked about soldiers and war and whatnot, so Faith understood when I explained how it fit into that context. After watching yet another pair of wingmen on their approach, Faith looked at me and asked:

Daddy, is telling our soldiers to go kill their soldiers really the right way to fix things?

Well, well, well. My little girl is growing up. What a sad question for her to have to consider, but in the Virginia Beach/Norfolk area, it’s impossible to avoid the machinery of war.  It’s doubly hard when your dad lives on the largest Navy base in the world. I’m very impressed that my little six year old put things together like that.  It’s not an easy question to answer though, is it?

It’s times like this when you realize how really broken this world really is.  I’m impressed watching fighter jets thundering across the sky in formation.  I’m utterly stunned walking down the pier next to the USS Eisenhower, standing 100 feet away from perhaps the largest war machine in the world.   It’s all very incredible to see our military.  And yet it’s also very sobering to consider why this is all necessary. 

My little girls know nothing of 9/11.  They don’t know anything about world wars, communists, suicide bombers, death camps, nuclear weapons, prisoners of war, or anything like that.  All they know is that there are all of these huge, noisy machines operating around us constantly at our beach vacation, and that the reason they are making so much noise is so they can practice, so when the time comes to kill our enemies, they will do it right.

A six year old asks, “Is this really the best way?  Daddy, do we have to kill them?”

I’ve been doing a Bible study lately on the Doctrine of Man.  It’s really a very thorough study of what the Bible has to say about the current state of mankind, and I’ll tell you what — as far as I can tell, the Bible is spot on.  There is nothing in this world that is not tainted by sin, and the fact that we need to spend so much money and devote so many men (and women) and so much material to our military is a great indictment of just how far we have fallen.  When we pay people to have a career dedicated to war, to be ready at any moment to stand up and fight for this country – that they do this as their profession – is a testimony to where we are as people.

Don’t get me wrong – I am incredibly grateful to those who serve in the military.  I know why we need a military, and I am glad they are there to protect the freedoms we love, like being able to sit in our living rooms on quiet peaceful nights typing out blog posts.  But, oh, how I dream of the day when …

He will settle disputes among the nations
and provide arbitration for many peoples.
They will turn their swords into plows
and their spears into pruning knives.
Nations will not take up the sword against other nations,
and they will never again train for war.  Isaiah 2:4

Right now it seems there is the dream that we are leading the world into the Pax Americana –  that nobody really wants to mess with us, so the world will largely stay at peace.  But don’t think it will last.  The Kingdom of God is not the United States of America.  Isaiah’s prophesy will find fulfillment when God establishes the New Earth and no sooner.

Come, Lord Jesus.


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