Memorial Day

13 Reasons to Live: It’s Not About Me

In a sea of carnage, engulfed by enemy gunfire and immersed in the ravages of war, Desmond Doss had every reason to join his comrades, scale the cliff, and return to the relative safety of the military base. Instead, he remained in the hellish battle; rooted in the knowledge he was there for a purpose though despairing he couldn’t hear God’s voice amid the clamor of war.

Until a faint voice cried out in the distance. “Help.”

Armed only with a ragged Bible, Doss scoured the grisly landscape of death for signs of life. One by one he snatched devastated bodies from the grip of the grave, lowering them with painstaking care over the side of the cliff; again and again he returned, risking his life with each venture until some 75 comrades were lowered to safety.

I can’t imagine emerging from even five minutes of battle unscathed mentally and emotionally. The average person would drown in the unmerciful memories. War would seem the ultimate weapon in conjuring 13 Reasons Why to give up on life.

And yet, in the midst of one of the fiercest of World War II battles, Desmond Doss found a reason to live. “Give me one more, Lord,” he prayed repeatedly until his mission was complete, staying true to his conviction: “With the world so set on tearing itself apart, it don’t seem like such a bad thing…to want to put a little bit of it back together.”

Any honest person could easily come up with a list of 13 Reasons Why to plan a swift escape from this sin-sick world. Maybe if pain weren’t standing guard before death, more of us would already have left the madness of earth far behind.

But here we have a choice. We can wallow in the mire of suffering until it overtakes our resolve to live. Or we can finally declare: “It’s not about me.”

Desmond Doyle survived war without a weapon in hand, emerged from the fire a hero because of this one choice he made. He did not cower in fear of the greatest giant known to mankind. He did not succumb to complacency, savagery, or despair.

Instead, he listened for that one voice crying, “Help.” And then another, and another. And little by little, he put a small part of the world back together.

Maybe if we adopted this grand mission of putting even the smallest pieces of our own corners of this world back together, we would find our purpose is far greater than ourselves. And we would find that is more than enough reason…to live.

Memorial Day

Blog_CherryBlossom.jpgFlower petals fall like snow from the tree outside my window, and I remember. I remember a time when I didn’t have a daughter telling me these flowers have come to celebrate her birthday. I remember a Memorial Day not long ago, holding her in the hospital room, falling in love with her precious face, praying that difficult prayer—“God, I so desire this child to be your answer to my prayers. Yet not my will, but yours be done.”

I remember how God so faithfully carried me through the difficult years preceding, my life and my home ever filled with children, never my own. My hub and I spent a good fourteen years working with children in the inner city. Our lives had been so full with that ministry, it wasn’t until my health slowed me down that I felt a deep down yearning for the opportunity to be a mommy to a child who needed one.

We weren’t wealthy by any means, so we knew that heeding the call to adopt would involve much sacrifice and hard work along with the miraculous intervention of God. I could tell story after story of what we let go of to take hold of this little pearl of great price. And I could write story after story about God’s perfectly-timed provision all along the way.

But if there’s anything I think of on Memorial Day, it’s the great sacrifice God has made for me to be called his own. The price I paid to adopt my daughter (and now my son, as well!) is nothing compared to the price God the Father paid to adopt me into his family. The overwhelming love I have for them is nothing compared to the infinite love God has for me.

Do you know that God the Father, the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth, desires to adopt you as his own, as well? He has made the greatest sacrifice for this to be possible, the life of his own son that all who believe would be called his children. Take time this Memorial Day to remember that God has remembered you first. You are not forgotten. You are wanted. And you are loved.

“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12)

 

Photo Credit: Cherry blossom – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia