October 12, 1943
This number of our Beacon Lights is supposed to be an all California issue. And therefore I hear some of you fellows say: “What is Vos doing here? He lives now in Edgerton, Minnesota!” Well, you will have to bear with me for this one time. It is true: I am no longer a Californian, but my 11 year stay there and my very recent departure prompted the present editor to suggest that I, nevertheless, write something for this issue. So here goes.
Let me begin by saying that for many days I have endeavored to enter into the world in which you men are moving, but to a large extent it is in vain. And I know that you men understand me. How could we enter that world even in our thoughts? It is so horribly different from the peaceful life we have led and are still leading here in the States. Many of you will read these lines in far-away countries. Some of you will read this issue in between hellish battles where man tries to slaughter man. You wash away the powder stains from hands and faces and once more breathe calmly. Others may even read these lines in first aid stations behind the lines or in hospitals amid the stench of putrefying flesh and the obnoxious odors of morphine and chloroform. I can well believe that you delight in reading the Beacon Lights so far, so very far from dear old Mom and Dad. It somehow brings back to you familiar scenes never to be forgotten and now delightfully remembered.
Men! Our hearts are with you, our prayers are ever for your welfare. When we think of some possible future day when you come marching home again, our hearts are overwhelmed, our eyes grow strangely dim; no, we are not ashamed of the tears that somehow will come. You are part of us, a living part of us in more than one way. You are bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh. Should our hearts then not long for you? You are part of the army and navy which defends our shores. It hath pleased God to use you also for that purpose. And whether you have the victory or not: we shall be ever proud of our sons, our husbands, our friends that went and fought for the country of our birth or of our adoption. But, much more, you are part and parcel of the church of the Living God. One God we love, you and we: One Saviour saved us by His precious Blood: One Spirit groans within us with groanings that cannot be uttered. And therefore I love to write this letter to all of you. Because since God is your Father and Christ your Saviour, I know that unutterable peace is yours in the midst of shot and shell: one promise is given to you and to us here at home.
It is this: I will bring you to your everlasting home when the last soul is saved and time ended. And there shall be no war any more. There you shall make heaven musical forever in the song of Moses and of the Lamb of God. Think on these things, men! And may the God of all comfort keep your hearts and minds in obedience to One who is infinitely greater than all kings and princes, from Whom, through Whom and unto Whom are all things: also this war and your poignant suffering.
God be with you till we meet again. If not in the States, then at Jesus’ feet. Till we meet for the praises of Him who called us from the darkness of sin to the Light of His blessed Face!
I am yours with kind thoughts and prayers on your behalf.