Friday, May 31, 2013

Devotional 5-31-13


Memorial Day’s parades, speeches and celebrations have ended. The meaningful tributes to our fallen veterans remind us once more of the cost of war and the sadness of lives lost.  While the purpose of Memorial Day is to pay tribute, we can’t help but be sad at the same time.

Since the day I was born, our country has been involved in five wars.  America has taken upon itself the responsibility of upholding the freedom of the world. I can’t begin to theorize about God’s probable/possible/non-existent involvement or influence in war.  But whether based on religion, politics--whatever, the fact remains: war is war. 

I do know, however, that those who have seen combat and those who continue to fight in these wars have experienced something none of the rest of us can begin to imagine.  The physical, emotional and mental impact of war changes these men and women, and many, many lives are lost.  I know that God is waiting to become involved through our prayers for these soldiers, now in combat, or living with the memories of their war experience years ago.

When I was 20, my 24-year-old brother followed his dream to become a Navy pilot. When his tour of duty was about to end, he extended his tour one more year and volunteered for duty in Vietnam.  I don’t know if it was his passionate love of flying or his belief that the United States needed to be in this conflict--perhaps both--but he was compelled to follow through with his decision. It required additional training in Nevada before he left. On October 29, 1966, his plane crashed during a training mission because of mechanical failure, and suddenly he was gone.

We were devastated.  It took me some time to learn that anger does not heal.  I still remember the words of my mother’s close friend: “Be sad, but not forever.”   Though difficult, over time thoughts of my brother were no longer in the context of tragedy, but of the wonderful experiences we shared growing up.  My family suffered greatly from our loss--especially my parents.  But the support of so many through their kindness, their love and especially their prayers, made it possible to grieve and in time move on.

Though Memorial Day is officially over, it is so important that we remember our soldiers  past and present, as well as their families, with a simple mention in our prayers. As long as there is war, there will be sorrow and sadness, but our sadness will not be forever with God’s help.  All we need do is ask.

Heavenly Father, please protect our combat soldiers, comfort our war veterans, heal our wounded soldiers, and be with each of their families. This we ask in Jesus’ name.

Diane Feaganes

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