Just four months into the war in Iraq, a Humvee was leading a convoy of soldiers between Ar Ramadi and Fallujah when an improvised explosive device exploded as the vehicle rolled over it.
As the blast blew through the armor, Captain Josh Byers, 29, called out, “Sergeant, we’ve hit an IED. Keep moving forward!” The sergeant hit the gas, the vehicle rolled on, but soon came to a stop from the damage. Investigators said by not stopping at the moment of the blast, at least two lives were saved. Ironically, as the smoke cleared, the other soldiers realized Captain Byers was dead.
“Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” —1 Corinthians 15:54b-58
No one is certain how he was able to calmly give the order to “keep moving forward,” when he was mortally wounded. He was known by all who worked with him to be a strong man of God who was very open about his faith in Jesus Christ. General Charles (“Hondo”) Campbell said of Captain Byers, “As a soldier and a leader, Josh was others-focused, a servant-leader, and a Christian soldier.”
Captain Byers’ life was marked and changed by Christ, so death had no victory. The testimony of his life will forever be his legacy and far outlive him.
What about you? What legacy are you forming for your death by the life you’re living today? The good news is if you’re reading this, you’re still breathing, so you have time to change. Keep moving forward. Stand firm in Christ.
CARING PHYSICIAN, thank You for the breath in my lungs and another day to serve You. Help me to truly live and may my life save others by my service, just like Captain Byers. Give me the strength, regardless of what I face, to keep moving forward.