Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day Devotion: A Memorial Wish

Acts 3:7           Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man's feet and ankles became strong. 

If I had the ability to have a wish completely answered on Memorial Day, it would be that all injured, wounded, and disabled veterans were healed today – physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

Wars come and go, but wounds and scars remain. Many true combat veterans will not speak about their experiences because of the horrific and inhumane experiences they endured. Night after night, they relive former battles, campaigns, and skirmishes in their hearts and minds. Even decades after terrifying and sickening events, veterans wake up sweating all over and never find real peace.

Years ago, when I ministered to fishermen on the West Coast of Scotland, I can remember making a house call to an elderly couple. During the visit, the woman of the house told me that her husband suffered nightmares every night and that she had to comfort him. He had been on a British navy ship that was torpedoed during World War 2. He was one of the few survivors and had spent several hours in the sea before being rescued. Thereafter, every night for more than forty years, he experienced the same nightmare. The fear and anxiety never went away.

Today, we commemorate Memorial Day in the United States. Some people have a romantic nostalgic notion of making this day a red, white, and blue flag waving celebration. It is all that, but much more besides. We patriotically remember  and proudly honor those who gave their lives to protect us, but we should also be aware of the many veterans at home, in hospital, or veteran’s homes who still relive their time of combat and have wounds, physically and internally, that will never be healed on this side of glory.

Prayer:                        Lord God, we who are free sometimes forget about those who are still captive to past traumatic experiences and fearful events. We can truly never know all that occurred to preserve our freedom on the battlefields of Europe, on Pacific islands, and in South East Asia. Even today, we are not completely aware of what our armed forces endure in Iraq and Afghanistan. Forgive us for being ignorant and complacent. Bless those who sacrificed everything to give us what we cherish most today – our freedom. In Jesus’ Name we humbly pray. Amen.

John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment on today’s message, John will be pleased to receive your emails at