Deeply grateful for our service men and women. Grateful for the work they have done over the last twenty years—it was not in vain. We may never know the countless ways that lives were changed, specifically those of women and girls who had a small window of light open up. That light of knowledge they were given, something we so often take for granted, will not go out as long as they live and breathe. And more so even, the light of Jesus that will never fade because there are people in Afghanistan in whom God has made his dwelling in the person of the Holy Spirit. Light shines brightest in the darkest of places.
As I see the images of people fleeing, soldiers rescuing, flights taking off over and over—the largest airlift in history—I can’t help but think if we could only go back and airlift Jewish people, as many as we possibly could, which even if in the hundreds of thousands, would likely be very few in the grand scheme of the lives taken in the Holocaust, looking back we would say those people were worth it. Had such a mission occurred, and had our soldiers given their lives on a rescue mission that would likely have seemed futile, so dark was the looming evil of what was to come, we would say that the cause was altogether worthy. As I know has been said of many a soldier who has given his or her life—we are not worthy of them.
The way this has played out will be debated for decades to come. Of that we can be certain. And we are likely to find disagreement. I can’t and won’t pretend to have anything close to a handle on the incredible complexities of the history of this place, these people, or the scene on the ground. But I can pray. And I pray we can be kind to one another as we process (or choose not to attempt to process if we just can’t). We are all world-weary—grieving losses of all sorts, taking in each day more than our minds and hearts can handle. We are sad, angry, bewildered, afraid, weary, disillusioned, broken-hearted (to name only a few of the possible things we might feel). The earth is groaning and we groan with it and the Holy Spirit groans within us where our words fail as he teaches our hearts to break with what breaks his.
There is always hope.