I meet many different people, some through work (mainly in the twin cities area), some through preaching (Central and Western Minnesota) and some just being on the farm. Recently I met the mom of a wounded American soldier; I have never talked to her before. Her son is home after a long recovery in hospitals but he is not healed. As the mom said, he will never be completely healed. Tears poured down her face as she talked.
In war, more than the soldier gets wounded; his wife is wounded, his mom and dad are wounded, the rest of the family is shaken and wounded. Their world is turned upside down, the constant reminder of media statistics pound on their psyche. The wounds are permanent, it would be completely depressing if not for hope.
I asked her what the family is doing to heal. She said she talks to mothers of soldiers who are severely wounded. She cried as she told me about having to bring a form of “reality” to the families whose loved ones have been severely wounded in combat. They all want it to be “over” and it’s preferred that this happens quickly. Through her tears, she said it will not “get over quickly” but they must persevere and hang on; it will be a lifetime of coping for most.
In previous wars, sadly many severely wounded died on the battlefield; they didn’t come home. Today, more severely injured are coming home and we are forced to deal with this sobering reality. We will see them on the street, at ball games, at family reunions, at work, at church. Yes, they will be there to serve as a constant reminder of the reality of war. No longer will we be able to turn away and pretend we don’t see. We will have to deal with it, whether we like it or not. Yes, our tranquil Western Minnesota rural lifestyle will be intruded upon by the reality of war and its aftermath.
As I stood in the color guard on Memorial Day, I realized most of us are Viet Nam era vets. I don’t know if anyone of their group has ever told their story; the reality is, most people don’t give a damn if they heard it at all. If we don’t talk about the past, it doesn’t exist and not talking is the protocol for our day. But today these wounded vets are walking our streets, living next to us, worshipping with us and will serve as a constant reminder we all need to heal. Oh, we won’t heal completely on this side of heaven but we have that hope that one day we will all be completely healed.
It is with the hope of Christ that they can carry on. The hurts are real and lasting; the pain just does not go away. The tears are real and fall often and we must be here to listen to the hurting (I mean really listen) and share hope and love. Love them not just in word but in action. Live out our faith with deeds. Remember God’s word says, “No greater love is this than a man lay down his life for a friend.” Remember, every veteran who has ever signed on the dotted line was willing to lay down his life for us. We need to thank each and every one for this unselfish act of devotion.
In the meantime, let’s pray for peace, healing and protection for our soldiers—those serving and those healing. We need to pray for wisdom for our leaders in this trouble time. May we serve those in need and work to bring an end to all pain and suffering and pray for the Lord’s return.
Come quickly, Lord Jesus, come. Amen.