I have never gone into combat, so it is impossible for me to fully understand the experience of someone like Leslie P. Cruise who parachuted into France on D-Day and lived to tell about it… 75 years later.
Cruise is a genuine hero, something that we rarely see in the 21st Century. Many paratroopers never made it to the ground, for they were an easy target as they fell slowly to the ground. Many more landed miles from their intended targets and were captured or killed. The majority, like Cruise, joined in combat and were wounded. Countless were left dead on the battlefield.
Cruise tells NPR’S Morning Edition of such an incident. After parachuting into France, Cruise and his friend, Pvt. William Vargas, fought for 33 days straight to liberate French villages from the Nazis. Then, a shell exploded just beyond Vargas. Cruise tried to save him, but the best he could do was buy his friend a few more hours by slowing the flow of blood. Vargas died later that day.
Cruise told NPR about that Vargas: “His body was sacrificed for mine, simple as that, so that was a traumatic experience among others but that was probably the most moving. So I always think of that as my physical salvation.”
Cruise rightly calls his friend’s sacrifice his “physical salvation.” We, too, have been offered salvation, through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, who gave His life to pay the penalty of our sins. The sentence that accompanies our sins is death, but Jesus didn’t want to see us suffer spiritual death in hell. Instead, He died for us.
Now, we must choose to believe in Him and accept His substitution. Will you allow Him to be your salvation?
How Great Thou Art
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