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  • Rebecca

A Military History

“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” ~Romans 5:6-8



My Grandpa, Walter Thomas Osborne, Sr., in his WWI Navy uniform.

I love history. There is something so fascinating about researching a time and culture that is different than ours. I majored in history in college for a while, even taking some honors history classes, and the more I explored other times and people, the more the differences began to disappear. I see the people, not just the culture and you know what I found? No matter what their clothes, their technology (or lack of), their transportation or their government, they are still just like you and me. They struggle, they flourish, they laugh, they cry, they get married, have children, have goals and dreams and injustices and tragedy. There really is nothing new under the sun, just as the preacher in Ecclesiastes told us so many years ago.


Fast forward to today, Veteran’s Day. For some reason I decided to hop on to an ancestry site that my cousin put together. What I found there was amazing…several Revolutionary War heroes, one who served directly under General Washington! So many soldiers and leaders, kings, queens, knights, some who died in battle and service to their country; I was so proud of my ancestry looking at the courage of so many….


until I realized it went all the way back to the Roman Empire. Suddenly this glowing royal military ancestry began to show Roman soldiers. Then Roman leaders. It went from the US to England to France to Italy to Samaria, and then there it was…Judea. My heart was pounding so hard at this point. I clicked one more time and a name popped up that turned my stomach.


Herod the Great. I stared at the screen stunned, embarrassed, mortified. Garen walked in about that time and asked me if I was ok, so I can imagine how I must have been looking at the computer. Horrified doesn’t begin to describe how I felt. Horrible doesn’t even begin to describe this person. You may remember him from the story of Jesus’ birth in Matthew. You know the king that the wise men went to see, who later ordered the massacre of every baby boy under the age of 2 trying to make sure Jesus was one of them? Yes, that Herod. Suddenly all that strength in my lineage meant nothing. I wanted to RUN from it and really wished I hadn’t gotten so deep into this research. I did not want to be tied even remotely to this lineage. HOW could this be in my ancestry??? NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, I do not want to have one tiny part of that DNA!! I wanted to cry. My distant ancestor persecuted the One I love most in this world. I know this was 2000 years ago, but I was utterly devastated.


And then my Father, who always sees me, reached down and whispered one word into my heart: “Saul.”


Yes, Saul! Saul…who in his own self-righteousness went on a crusade to find and execute Jesus-followers, who was present at the stoning of Stephen, who dedicated his life to persecuting anyone who claimed Christ as Savior, until he met Jesus. When confronted with the very One he was persecuting, both his life and his name changed. He would forever after be known as Paul, the greatest missionary the world has ever known. When his life came face to face with the Truth, God used his zeal for good instead of evil.


Courage and bravery and strength are all good things, but they mean NOTHING without Jesus. We can be strong and hurt people. We can be brave and use it to be destructive. We can be courageous and on the complete wrong side. Without the Truth of Jesus, we are left to determine our own “truth” based on our own desires, and in a world full of 8 billion people, the question becomes how many versions of truth can there be? Who determines morality, what is right and wrong? This is exactly where our culture is today.

I have always had a strong sense of family and found comfort and identity in it. And then I lost all of them. It was then that I learned through the gentle teaching and comfort of my Father that, although they are a huge part of us, we are not defined by our family any more than Jesus was defined by his earthly lineage. He came to this earth through a line of murderers, cheaters, prostitutes, and more at a time in history when your lineage was everything! He didn’t come through what the world defined as royal. He came as a humble carpenter to serve and give His life as a ransom for many. He came that way to show us that it doesn’t matter where you come from, but WHO you come from. His identity was in His Father and His purpose was only to do His will and to show us how to do the same.


I love my family more than anything. Yes, I am immensely proud of my veterans. Sure, it’s fun to research and makes us feel important when we see those kings and queens and war heroes. But after looking at some of my lineage, I could not be more glad that Jesus chose the ones that the world would never have chosen to bring salvation to this world. I am so glad He chose me to be His and to do His will…a simple Texas girl with a crazy ancestry who the majority of the world doesn’t even know exists; a woman with a checkered past, saved by the grace of God in spite of my failings.


And isn’t that all of us? We all have sinned and fall short. How amazing, how wonderful, how utterly gut-wrenching that He chooses us. He knew this whole time what my lineage was. And He loved me anyway.


A legacy of love, handed down to me from my Father. THAT is my true heritage.


I am the thorn in your crown

But you love me anyway

I am the sweat from your brow

But you love me anyway

I am the nail in your wrist

But you love me anyway

I am Judas' kiss

But you love me anyway


See now, I am the man who yelled out from the crowd

For your blood to be spilled on this earth shaking ground

Yes then, I turned away with the smile on my face

With this sin in my heart tried to bury your grace

And then alone in the night, I still called out for you

So ashamed of my life, my life, my life


But you love me anyway

Oh, God how you love me

Yes, you love me anyway

It's like nothin' in life that I've ever known

Yes, you love me anyway

Oh Lord, how you love me


~Sidewalk Prophets


"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." ~John 15:13

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