Recently, the Vietnam Traveling Wall (the 3/4ths replication of the amazing black wall in Washington D.C.), traveled to Portland, Oregon. Etched in somber stone is the name of every veteran killed in Indochina. During the opening ceremony I represented the 104th Division. Afterwards I was invited to a dinner with the special people from the cemetery that planned the event.
Laurie, one of the ladies who works at the Lincoln Memorial Center, gave me a tour of the grounds. She showed me a display put together by Milwaukee High School. Ken, the history teacher, had the youth collect tabs used to open soda pop cans. Each tab represents an American killed from the Revolutionary War to the current conflict in Iraq. Every war was represented with rows upon rows of tabs strung over wire. More Americans died in our Civil War than any other conflict (over 620,000) and this was graphically illustrated by panels that stretched out of sight in comparison to most conflicts depicted by a panel or less.
It took twelve years for the school to assemble this static presentation and every three days they add new tabs as Soldiers continue to die around the world. As I continued to think about what I witnessed, Laurie led me back inside for a Salmon supper. At our table, a woman shared how her coworkers did not want to hear her talk about her Marine son and the war in Iraq. Another woman whose son was shot down and killed in Mosul, shared how her 20-something female supervisor asked her to stop talking to coworkers about his death and the war. She quit her job in disgust. I was amazed at the irony of a high school that year-after-year honors America’s veterans inside a city that in many ways has no stomach for protracted suffering and little tolerance for the notion that freedom comes at a cost.
Jeremiah 15:15—You know, Lord; remember me and take note of me. Avenge me against my persecutors. In Your patience, don’t take me away. Know that I suffer disgrace for Your honor.
How fortunate we are to worship a long-suffering Father who responds to our failings with unlimited grace. As we approach another Memorial Day, let us remember those who lost their lives to preserve our liberties and let us praise and worship our God who never gets tired of us. I could not imagine losing a loved one and not having God to turn to for hope and help. As you remember those who died, please take time to pray for those alive but spiritually dead. Are you willing to endure in prayer for those who are hurting? Pray that they will come to know the long-suffering Creator who wants to set them free from pain and rescue them from a planet completely infected by sin.
Long-suffering is being drawn out until you can be drawn out no more—and not snapping. God puts His saints into places where they have to exhibit long-suffering.—Oswald Chambers in Approved Unto God
©2006 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)