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Grand Rapids, Michigan

Dear Friends:

When I was asked to write a letter to you boys in the service, I somewhat hesitated.  And that not because of lack of interest in you boys, or indifference as to the fact that you are scattered all over the world, far away from home and friends and loved ones: surrounded by temptation and danger on every side as that would hardly be possible for one who has three sons in the service himself.  However, I felt how difficult it is to enter into the world in which you live and move and to visualize your experiences; and that it is really impossible to even imagine what you are going through.

As I was considering these things, and tried somewhat to form a picture of what you are going through and to form some conception as to what must live in your minds and hearts, the thought came to me that the one great thought and longing that is uppermost in your minds and hearts is that the war may soon end and peace may return to the world and that you may return to your homes and friends and loved ones.

Peace, what a magic word that is in our day; not only on the battle-fronts, but on the so-called home-front as well.  Who is not thinking and speaking of peace today?  From the highest officials, down to the common laborer on the street, all are concerned about peace, and are speaking of a just and lasting peace for the world.

In the first place, the peace of which the world speaks is dependent upon the end of the war.  It is something to which you may look forward to in the future, but it is not a present reality which you may lay hold on, and which can comfort you in your present circumstances.

In the second place, this peace of the world can only be maintained by force of arms, from which it is evident that it is no peace at all in the true sense of the word.

Therefore, although I can understand that you long for the day when peace shall return to the world, in the sense of which the world speaks of it, I would nevertheless hold before you a peace that does not depend upon any of these things.  I mean the peace of God that passeth all understanding.

For that peace you do not have to wait until the war is over, but may be yours in the midst of war and destruction and suffering.  It is the peace of God that has its root in the faith that all things work together for good to them that love God, and therefore, cannot be disturbed by war or anything else.

May that peace be yours in the midst of the battle, until it pleases God to bring you back home again.  That is my prayer for you all.

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