Memorial Day is our national day of remembrance of our fellow countrymen who have died in combat defending us. I wanted to share a true story with you related to this photo of the Vietnam War Memorial Wall that changed me forever.
I used to travel up and down I-95 frequently and would regularly stop at the Wall to remember the many vets who had died in Vietnam, especially the ones I remembered serving with.
It was always a very emotional experience; tears would begin to flow, and most times the sheer weight of grief would overwhelm me to the point I would have to leave the area so that I could regain my composure. It seemed to always be this way every visit through the 90s; it seemed the 20- something years had not tempered the raw hurt of losing so many.
I was a mess and I knew it, yet I felt as though I could not control this crying at the wall, like it was bigger than me or something. Well one day around 1997 I had brought a group of men and boys to DC for an event called Stand in the Gap. It was the largest crowd I ever saw assembled in one place, over one million Christian men together for one purpose, to pray for our country!
It was an amazing event that changed many lives and on a personal note I experienced God’s voice in front of the Vietnam Wall! I had the boys with me trying to traverse the Mall through a sea of humanity and wanted to stop at the Wall. I left the kids in a grove of trees between the Wall and the Lincoln Memorial where I could keep an eye on them while I was at the Wall.
I knew I would cry and did not want the kids to worry about me so I went over to the Wall alone. I went to my usual spot at the Wall of those who died in 1970 and to my surprise for the first time ever since the Wall was built, NO TEARS! I was confused and began praying; I was not thinking clearly and just wanted to rush this moment so I could return to the kids I had left unattended in the nearby grove of trees.
After a while I settled down and simply began to ask God to help me understand why I was not emotional and crying as usual, was there something wrong, was I missing something here? I swallowed my pride, I bowed low, my face to the ground and remained silent…then I heard this voice clearly, and it changed my life forever, this is what I heard:
“Why do you seek the living among the dead?”
That was it, it was a verse of Scripture from the tomb of Jesus, and I recognized it immediately! Luke 24:5. In the hours that passed and in the days ahead I reflected on this experience and came to some solemn conclusions. Number 1 is that I am so grateful to have had a word from God in such a memorable fashion; thank you Lord for speaking to me when I needed to hear from you. Thank You ABBA Father, Thank You Jesus, Thank You Holy Spirit!
In all the Memorial Days that have past, and even today I am reminded of the meaning of this message: You can do nothing about the dead, but you still can do something for the living! It is true!
We have thousands of friends and family members who grieve their fallen heroes who are hurting today and the hurt everyday! On days like Memorial day or veterans day we can come along side some of those left behind, So today come alongside someone in some way; thank them for their loss! We have disabled vets returning home all around us, and we have the opportunity to help them. We can give generously to programs like the Roever Foundation (http://roeverfoundation.org/) or many other great programs that are doing a great work in the disabled veteran community.
In the weeks ahead I will write some short messages titled “10 ways you can seek out the living,” and bless those around you who have been harmed by war or any of the 10,000 other ways humans get messed up. Here is a preview of my next article. “You Are God’s Ambassadors of Care.”
1. Seek the living who are in need of caring! Yes, many people out there in our community need to know someone really cares about their life! People need to know you care! People need to know God cares and you are His Ambassador of Care!
Mark 12:30-31 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’
The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
That is right, if you are a believer in Jesus Christ and you profess to being committed to follow Him, you ought to be caring for people like He cares about them! The soul searching question prompted by the Holy Spirit is:
Do you Really Care? Do you love your neighbor? Do you resemble Christ in your concern for others, even strangers? Is your life really reflecting true Christ-likeness?
Jesus cared about people’s physical needs, their spiritual needs and most of all their Eternal needs!
In the days ahead I hope to break this big Idea down of caring for others like Jesus would care for others. I believe that this exercise might change us forever first, our communities next and perhaps the world one neighbor at a time!
Please join me for the journey, I guarantee it may change your life if you commit to this great adventure! There is one thing I have learned best from hearing God’s voice at the Wall that day on October 4, 1997. What matters most when you hear God’s voice is not that you heard it, but that you act upon it! Yes, it is important to discern God’s will, to study and understand, but is far more important to be changed by this and DO GOD’S WILL!