Yesterday, Memorial Day, was our national holiday to remember those who have sacrificed much for our country. They voluntarily enlist in our military, to serve the most wonderful nation in the world. They willing give all in order to protect an ideal, one nation, made up of many different peoples, under God, Who has preserved us for more than two centuries, asking little in return.
Give praise to the LORD, proclaim His name; make known among the nations what He has done. Sing to Him, sing praise to Him; tell of all His wonderful acts. Glory in His holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice. Look to the LORD and His strength; seek His face always. Remember the wonders He has done, His miracles, and the judgments He pronounced. 1 Chronicles 16:8-12 NIV
Often times it is the little things that bring a tear to my eye... Seeing a pair of whimsical reading glasses sitting in a random location, or a well-worn hat that is hanging by the door waiting for its owner to don it for an adventure. These are two items that remind me of my husband's parents. Gone now, but far from forgotten, reading glasses and old hats cause me to stop and remember. Remember the way they laughed, how they would tease and play with my sons, the way they called my name, and loved each of us so completely.
In their young lives both of these people volunteered to serve in the United States Air Force. Opa as a fighter pilot flying missions in the south Pacific, and Nanna, a nurse stationed in the Philippines. They sometimes shared stories of their times in the military, but in both cases, we learned more about their service after their passing than while they were with us. Both had personalities that were larger than life, hard to overlook in a crowd, always welcoming family and friends for times filled with laughter. Although often gregarious, they were quietly modest about their sacrifice and accomplishments while serving our country. It wasn't until after their passing that we discovered both had received commendations for their service, a testament of humility to our children, who idolized both grandparents.
Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:25-28 NIV
Each of us has people in our lives, family, friends, neighbors, who have made the decision to serve in defense of our nation's ideas and freedoms. These people have signed a blank check to this country, to be ever ready to protect you, making sacrifices and if necessary give their lives so that the United States of America will continue to be "one nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all." This should not just be something we remember one day, on the last Monday each year in May, but every day. When you encounter a military service man or woman, thank them. If you have a family member who serves or has served, remember, express gratitude. The servant's heart and devotion of our military for our country is without measure. Our gratitude and appreciation should be no less.
“As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Now remain in My love. If you keep My commands, you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commands and remain in His love. I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are My friends if you do what I command. John 15:9-13 NIV
I compel you, friend, while you may not be serving or have personally served in the military, you have the opportunity to sacrifice time to pray for these selfless servants. Spend a few moments each day in prayer for our military personnel. Pray for their safety, sound judgment and our LORD's hand of protection over them. Pray for the families that may go months without them, spouses who carry heavy burdens alone, children who eagerly anticipate hearing their parent's voice on the phone while accepting that they will not be in attendance for school events. Remember those who serve.
Omnipotent, loving Abba Father, You alone hold our lives in Your mighty hands. You alone keep an ever watchful eye on the precious lives of our service personnel and their work to defend and protect the country they love. May each of us bend our knee in humility to implore Your protection over these selfless people. Fill us with a sincere appreciation for the sacrifices that have been made and will be made for our benefits. As our Savior sacrificed His life to ransom us from death in our transgressions, military service members willingly sacrifice their lives for our earthly freedoms. Pierce our hearts, remind us to pray and encourage these humble servants. May we always remember Your gift and their sacrifices. Amen.