Devotional: Veteran's Day Thoughts

Isaiah 26: 3: You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! (New Living Translation)

Our son Jon is a Marine veteran. He served in Afghanistan in 2010, a hard year for several reasons, but most of all because he was in a faraway land with a fierce enemy pursuing him. Trust became a huge issue. We begged the Lord to bring our son and the other men and women who were in harm’s way, home safe. At the same time we had to be prepared in case things did not go well. What if Jon came back with a devastating injury? What if he returned with his body intact, but had PTSD so severe he couldn’t function? What if he didn’t make it back at all?

About six weeks before he was due to come home, he was injured. It wasn’t life-threatening, but it was enough to leave our faith shaken. Could we trust God to keep our son safe? We knew He could bring good out of every situation. We understood He’d be with us no matter what happened, but did He appreciate that our prayer was specific and could only have one answer? To bring our son home safe and whole.

On August 11 Jon and his unit arrived back at Camp Lejeune, NC. But there were ten families whose marines wouldn’t be returning that night. I thought about them as we waited. I prayed, asking God to strengthen them and help them to somehow move forward with their lives.

Later, Jon marched with his unit from the armory to the parking lot where the families waited, signs with welcome home held high, shouts and whistles, children running about. They were held in formation for about two seconds before being dismissed. It was one big scramble as families and marines reunited and embraced.

As I hugged him tight, tears streaming down my face, a breath of thankfulness on my lips, I realized I’d learned an important lesson. Even if God hadn’t answered our prayers in the way we’d asked, if Jon had come home badly injured or not at all, we could still trust our Father to take his sacrifice and bring good out of it, for no effort offered to the Lord goes unused.

Heavenly Father, thank you for all the men and women who have volunteered for armed services through the course of America’s history, and for the families who stood with them and supported them. Amen.