Thursday, November 11, 2010

Pray and Act

Dad and Uncle Bill ca. 1945
My women's group continues its way through our study on Trusting God, and I have to say, I was glad to get to last night's chapter.

For the first several chapters, Jerry Bridges built his case that God is in control of the world. He is sovereign in nature and nations, actions and outcomes, Bridges says, and we should trust that everything He does is for His glory or for the good of His people. I believe this, truly, but I was glad to come to the last night's chapter on "Trust and Responsibility." Its thesis was the essence of my faith experience:

We can trust God's sovereign power, but as Christians He calls us to pray and to act.

That has been running through my mind today as I've thought about veterans. War is a terrible last resort in any political situation. I think of my father and his brothers, though, and how these boys, most of them younger than my Boys, were willing to pray and to act. They did it not knowing that six decades after they went off to war we would be calling them the Greatest Generation. They didn't expect parades when they returned home--returning home, they knew, was its own best reward.

Dad never talked about his war experience while he was raising his own kids. We've heard pieces of his experience in the past couple of years, and the Honor Flight he took in June loosened some of the memories.

He finally told us just a few weeks ago  how he rode the bus to Kansas from Pensacola, Florida, after the war. He was a 19-year old veteran who had left for the war at age 17 before he was shaving regularly, but he sacrificed time for economy; he could get the veteran rate on a bus ticket so he took the Trailways home. The final leg from Kansas City was by train, and after he got off and hugged his parents he shouldered his duffel bag to return to the edge of town, back to the dairy farm where he grew up. Then he helped with evening milking, and went on with his life.

His story isn't unique and had a happier ending than many: 16 million Americans fought in World War II, and upwards of half a million of these died. God is in control, but sacrifice often accompanies the prayers and action that are part of His will.

Today I'm thankful for my father and for all the veterans gave up the ends of their childhoods so that their children could live in freedom. They answered their nation's call, and trusted God.

Pray and act, and be thankful.

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