No Greater Love

Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this,
that one lay down his life for his friends.”
John 15:13

When the bullets started flying in the Sandy Hook Elementary School, Principal Dawn Hochsprung confronted gunman Adam Lanza and tried to take him down. First-grade teacher Victoria Soto hid her students in the closets and cabinets and told Lanza the children were at the gym. When he didn’t believe her, she jumped in front of the children in an effort to shield them from the bullets. To protect his classmates, six-year-old Jesse Lewis tried to rush the gunman.

Hochsprung, Soto, and four other school employees were killed along with Jesse and nineteen other children. Stories of heroism like theirs emerged in the days following the deadly shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, in December of 2012, and served to remind a mourning nation that loyalty still lives.

These stories of sacrifice are powerful because of their testimony to the depths we will go for love. Humans were created with a strong sense of self-preservation. We don’t naturally jump in front of bullets. Satan told God, “Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life” (Job 2:4). Life is precious. That’s why choosing to die so another can live is considered the ultimate display of love.

We lay down our lives for those we love in other ways, however. These sacrifices may be less dramatic than stopping a bullet. We may bleed out in increments instead of one blow. Each time we set aside our own dreams, hopes, and comfort for the good of others, this death becomes life to those who would otherwise be doomed.

Who are these heroes?

The mom who sits up all night with her sick child and the dad who works an extra shift to buy groceries for the next week. The doctor who waives his fee so his patient can afford a lifesaving surgery. The nurse who volunteers her time to fly a medical transport with an injured young man to another facility closer to home. The brothers and sisters who learn physical therapy to help their disabled sibling and put off their own careers to stay home and help. The caregiver who has given up any pretense of a normal life in order to care for a loved one who would otherwise be in a nursing home or dead.

The hero is you.

You exist to serve. Respite for you is rare or nonexistent. And you’re okay with that most of the time. In fact, you find joy in the journey.

Whenever we honor those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for others, you are remembered. God knows what you have given up to be where you are today. He knows your sacrifices. He’s seen your tears. Your life is not lost. It is stored up in heaven for a day of celebration that’s coming soon.

Your Turn

Join the conversation by adding your comments below.

How can you demonstrate your love?

by Pam Thorson

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Pam was born at the Millington Naval Base outside of Memphis, Tennessee, the first child of a Wisconsin navy seaman and a Southern belle. Her early life was marked by many moves around the country as her father pursued a career in broadcasting. After traveling throughout the deep South and the Pacific Northwest, the family finally settled on the Nimiipuu (Nez Perce) reservation in Idaho. Pam met her wonderful husband during college, set her roots down deep along the banks of the Clearwater River, and happily began a home and family. Pam and Aaron educated all five of their children at home. They began homeschooling in 1982 and graduated their youngest daughter in 2006. Pam and Aaron have been married forty-one years. They have five grown children, two sets of precious in-laws, and two beautiful granddaughters. Pam has long loved to write. She began writing for the local college newspaper and homeschooling group. Later she authored many devotionals for her church and an article for Evangel. In 2008 she wrote Song in the Night, the true account of her son’s injury in Canada, their fight to keep the doctors from pulling the plug, and the subsequent journey back home. Her second book is due for release by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas in early 2014. In 2000, Pam became certified as a nurses’ aide to care for their injured son. She and her family have operated a certified family home licensed by the state of Idaho since 2000. In 2011, she completed the practical nurse program at Walla Walla Community College and earned her license as an LPN. Her conversion to the Lord Jesus Christ in 1975 set her on a journey with her Savior spanning nearly four decades. Her love for and devotion to life has come from this association with her Creator. Pam adores her husband, her family, and friends. She enjoys her beautiful little log home, good coffee, the sound of the river at night, and just about any kind of Christian music.

About Be the Light Editor

Martin Wiles is a minister, author, freelance editor, and English teacher who lives in Greenwood, SC. He is the founder of Love Lines from God and is the author of Grits & Grace and God and Grits, Gumbo and Going to Church. He serves as Managing Editor for Christian Devotions ( and Assistant Editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. He and his wife are parents of two and grandparents of three.