Rarely do I post on Sunday, but something happened today that I have to share.
Today our church did our annual patriotic salute service (many churches in America do similar services, ours was probably not that different). Several friends had asked me if I was going to be wearing my Air Force uniform, and convinced me that I should. So I showed up to church this morning wearing my Air Force Service Dress.
It was a good morning, I accepted several compliments from friends and church members on my uniform and my service. It always humbles me when people thank me for my service. Being a young chaplain and a reservist, I often feel like I haven’t done much yet. Still, I remember that when I wear that Air Force uniform, I represent not only myself, but many many other brave Airmen who have served and continue to serve our country. I accept thanks on behalf of them.
After the church services were over, and we had heard personal testimony from Lt Col Brian Birdwell, USA (Ret.), we were planning to go to lunch a few folks from the singles class I teach. It turned out that none of the folks we had invited were able to come to lunch with us, so Kelly and I made a new plan and went off to lunch.
While sitting at the restaurant, having just ordered, an older couple came by our table. They had finished their meal and this retired Lt Colonel and his wife stopped by to thank us and to let us know that our bill had been paid.
I didn’t know what to say, but I managed to say, “thank you.”
A few moments later the waiter came by (himself an air force vet, we learned) and told us that our bill had been paid, and (mistakenly) pointed out another couple. Incidentally we learned from this second couple that they had offered to buy our meal moments after the first couple (who had been sitting at the next table) had paid for us.
All this floored me. I couldn’t believe how generous these folks were, and to us. Again, I recognize that I have the privilege and responsibility whenever I wear that Air Force uniform of representing others who serve in far worse conditions that I do, and with greater valor than I may ever be called upon to show. Words cannot fully express the sense of humility that I feel at receiving the undeserved honor and favor of a few patriotic men and women.
When we gave thanks to God, I must admit that I thanked Him with a fresh conviction and a sense of thanksgiving which I have rarely had before. Times like these remind me of the undeserved favor that God shows each of us, and also of the sacrifices of the men and women who serve our country.
To those who serve, I salute you. I thank each of you for your service, great or small as it may be. I pray today that God would place His hand of protection upon those in harm’s way, that He would heal and comfort those who are hurting, and that He would bring those serving away from their families safely home. In the midst of all this I ask that God would make His presence manifest around those who serve, that they might recognize it and turn to Him.
Once Again, I must say “Thank You.”