"If you write FOR a particular market or FOR a particular editor you will often miss the mark. But if you write because your fingers have danced across the keyboard, because a character has tapped you on the shoulder, because a story has settled in your heart, then even if you never sell it you have done the work you were meant to do. And sometime, dear readers, real magic happens." Jane Yolen

8/23/09

A hero because...

Over the past week or so, a single thought has occupied a portion of my mind - sometime a back corner, and sometimes the very front. And I couldn't let it go by without blogging about it.

Those of you who also know me through Facebook and Twitter have heard, at least a few times, about Army Corporal Nick Roush, who was killed on Sunday, August 16 in Afghanistan when an IED exploded. He was a "local kid." He and his family have attended my church, First Baptist Church of Middleville, since he was a boy.

On Friday, the body of this 22-year-old man arrived back in West Michigan and was driven in a (very impressive) motorcade from the local airport to our church, a good 12 miles away. (Click here for an article from the local paper about it.) Hundreds, if not thousands, of local folks lined the streets to show their support and to welcome this soldier home. My daughter and I were among them.


One word that has been said quite a bit over the past week --by friends, family, strangers, the media--in reference to Nick was "hero." Signs up and down the route his body traveled used this word. It was on people's lips, in their Facebook posts, and in their emails.

It is certainly a much-deserved word for this young man. Yet, I don't think it really hit me what exactly it meant--and what the implications were--until I read a posting by another 22-year-old man, also from our church (and in the National Guard), about Nick's heroism. It truly and literally brought me to my knees.
Nick wasn't magically made a hero in death. He became a hero among heroes as soon as he decided to follow God's path for his life. And because of it, he has touched and inspired many people. So many people do things for personal glory, but he didn't do that. His only desire was to follow God, and if God called him to die, so be it. He truly lived the words, "Here am I; send me." His death didn't make him a hero...His life made him a hero. Christian Patterson
His death didn't make him a hero. His life made him a hero. Nicky lived for Christ, and believed that it was God's will that he be a soldier. According to letters home our pastor shared during this morning's church service, he was a bold witness of his Savior throughout his time in the military. And, he willingly put himself in harm's way for our freedom.

I don't have to die to be a hero. We have a multitude of heroes who, in Chris' words, "decided to follow God's path" for their lives--no matter the risk, and no matter the cost.

So, I honor Nicky Roush, as well as thousands of other believers who are doing exactly what God has willed them to do, for their Savior, no matter the cost.

Thank you.

Please keep Nick's parents, Bob and Donna, as well as his brothers, Bobby and Kyle, in your prayers - and the entire congregation of First Baptist Church of Middleville. We are rejoicing to know where Nicky is right now, but we are still aching. And if you are interested and local, visitation is at First Baptist Middleville today, Sunday, from 5 to 8pm and Monday from 12 to 2 and 5 to 8pm. The funeral, also at First Baptist, will be Tuesday, August 25 at 11am. His burial will follow, at Mt. Hope Cemetary in Middleville, with full military honors.

17 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing the post by Chris Patterson and your insight. True heroes may be recognized in death, but they really are living the lifestyle and convictions of a hero in life. We all should remember that our character is what we do when nobody is watching. And if someone mimics us - what is it that will show up in their actions? Cautious living, thoughtful motives, selfless ambition - building blocks of a hero. Thankfully God doesn't always demand the sacrifice of a life to get His message across.

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  2. This made me cry. I am so sorry about your loss and I do pray God will bring comfort to his family, friends, and church.

    Love,
    Beth

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  3. So well said, Joanne. Being from a military family there are so many sacrifices the whole family makes just keep our country (and others) safe and free. Praying for the comfort this family needs for the days and months ahead.
    And for all our 'heros.'

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  4. Thank you so much for sharing this. I'm in tears right now for this family, all of whom share in the sacrifice and heroism of this young man. God bless all of you who hurt today, but praise God that there are those among us willing to go. My prayers are with you all.

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  5. Thank you Joanne for sharing this. It's so encouraging to read stories like this one.

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  6. That is such a sweet tribute. And it is wonderful how you all lined the streets to honor him. Praying for his family ~

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  7. Wow. What a quote and what an impact. I've been praying for the Roush family, and your church family--and will continue. Military are so very special...

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  8. What a beautiful tribute, Joanne. Yes, it's a life lived for Christ that makes a hero.

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  9. He was a true patriot, too, Jo. Continuing to pray for his family and friends as they learn to cope with his loss.

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  10. Powerful post, Joanne, thanks for sharing it with us. It is a strong reminder that freedom isn't free - neither for our country, nor for our a relationship with God. Both were and are bought with blood. This young man truly was a hero. I pray his family will be greatly comforted and receive an abundance of peace from God as they go through this tragic time.

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  11. That was a beautiful post...Thanks so much for sharing...Lord, let us never forget our real heros. You blessed me today...

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  12. Amen, Joanne. Prayers said for this hero's family and for every soldier standing in the breach for our freedom.

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  13. Truly a beautiful tribute to a warrior for Christ! Praying for his family and your community.

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  14. You bring tears to my eyes with your words of witness regarding Nick's life. I have my own Nick. He's almost 21. His heart sounds much like this boy's heart who gave so sacrificially for our country and for his God! Please thank his family for me. Undoubtedly seeds have been planted by Nick that will continue to bloom for generations to come.

    peace~elaine

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  15. Total goosebumps, girl. No truer words were spoken than these about the honor of a man's life to follow Jesus. Wow.

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  16. Thank you for sharing this beautiful tribute! May we never underestimate the power of one life!

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