Remembering My Father on Memorial Day

This post from the livingasapprentices archives is re-posted in honor of Memorial Day.

Do you see what we’ve got? An unshakable kingdom! And do you see how thankful we must be? Not only thankful, but brimming with worship, deeply reverent before God” (Hebrews 12: 28 in The Message).

Memorial DayMy father left the church he was pastoring and volunteered to serve as a chaplain during World War II.  He left behind a wife and three-month old daughter – me.  After three years as a medic’s assistant, he was faced with the challenge of his lifetime:  stay with the wounded men he was treating and face certain capture or retreat with the rest of his unit.  He chose to stay. He was captured and eventually liberated. However, he was killed by friendly fire while walking to freedom.

A few years ago, as I prepared to share this story at a Memorial Day worship service, I felt the familiar tug between pride and anger. Here was a man of integrity and valor!  But didn’t he know that when he stayed with his men he left me behind?  And then the truth of this verse hit me. My father believed in the “unshakable kingdom.” He knew that no matter what happened to him he would be safe.  He also knew that I lived in that kingdom as well.  No matter what happened to him, I would be safe.

We all live in a world where fear and the unknown can shake our faith and destroy our dreams. But God is in control of God’s kingdom. And what is to be our response to the wonder of that kingdom?  Gratitude and a life “brimming with worship.”

_____

This post is a devotional I wrote for the July, August, September, 2013 issue  of Words of Hope, a devotional booklet published Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted permission. See more of  my father’s story in an earlier post, “Communion in the Corral.”

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