Glimpses of grace seen in the everyday

Posts tagged ‘world war 2’

Peace for our time?

The headline today says “Peace for Our Time.”  When have we heard that before?  Here’s a headline from 75 years ago:

1938: ‘Peace for our time’ – Chamberlain

The British Prime Minister has been hailed as bringing “peace to Europe” after signing a non-aggression pact with Germany.

Look at the date and remember what happened shortly after this optimistic pronouncement.  Think about the trustworthiness of the other party in the agreement.

I’ve been reading the writings of the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah, in which God says this about the leaders of His people:

They dress the wound of my people
as though it were not serious.
‘Peace, peace,’ they say,
when there is no peace.
Are they ashamed of their loathsome conduct?
No, they have no shame at all;
they do not even know how to blush.
So they will fall among the fallen;
they will be brought down when I punish them,”
says the LORD.  (Jeremiah 6:14-15)

And within a few years that nation was indeed wiped out by a powerful enemy.

So today do we actually believe that world leaders will bring us real peace?  Only the Prince of Peace can do that—Jesus Christ.  He has come once to capture our hearts, and He will return again soon to capture all nations and set up the only kind of peaceful kingdom this world will ever know.

From Horror to Hope

I’m a bookworm, but I don’t buy, keep, or re-read books unless they’re very, very special.  Those that merit a permanent place on our bookshelves are the exceptions.  Today I want to share an exceptional book with you which my husband and I have just read together.  It is truly a keeper!

River Kwai2

Miracle on the River Kwai, by Ernest Gordon, is a story of grace in the worst possible of circumstances.  Under the most extreme duress, despair and hopelessness were transformed to faith in God, redemption, and selfless love for one another.  It began with a few POWs who sacrificially served and even laid down their lives to save others in what had been a dog-eat-dog environment, every man for himself.  The power of God changed lives long-term as they served, taught, shared and worshipped with one another for several years as the war raged on.  When they were finally released, one of the men said, “I wouldn’t have missed it for anything.  It was rough, all right.  But I learned an awful lot that I couldn’t have learned at the university or anywhere else.” 

When hard times come for me, I pray that God’s grace and power will do the same, shining through the darkness to refine my character in ways that may not be possible through peace time.

If only I’d done more…

“If only I had not kept the car, we could have gotten out more,” Schindler is quoted as saying at the end of the movie bearing his name.  This line haunts me.  After all the heroic and sacrificial things that this man did to save Jews from the Holocaust, he wished he’d given up more of the things he took for granted in his privileged life.  In the end, those things didn’t count.

What will I feel and say when I stand before my Lord on that final day?  Will I regret wasted time, self-preoccupation, attention squandered on things that have no eternal value?  I am challenged to daily re-evaluate my priorities and invest my life in the things that really matter, even if it means sacrifice.  I’m also deeply moved by this song:

By and by when I look on His face,
Beautiful face, thorn shadowed face;
By and by when I look on His face,
I’ll wish I had given Him more.
More, so much more,
More of my life than I e’er gave before
By and by when I look on His face,
I’ll wish I had given Him more.

In the light of that heavenly place,
Light from His face, beautiful face;
In the light of that heavenly place,
I’ll wish I had given Him more.
More, so much more,
Treasures unbounded for Him I adore,
By and by when I look on His face,
I’ll wish I had given Him more.

–by Grace Reese Adkins

Against All Odds

A favorite childhood memory is the Kids’ Bible Club my parents held every Wednesday for the dozen or so elementary kids in the rural community where we attended a one-room, K-8 school.  Mom taught us songs and Bible stories using flannelgraph, and we had a lively Scripture memorization program where I tried to keep ahead of my best friend, receiving a small prize for each group of verses successfully recited.

Our theme song was an adaptation for children (by Dad) of the hymn “Am I a Soldier of the Cross?” This song speaks of the expectations we might have as citizens of God’s kingdom while still in these alien lands.  Like a soldier in war, we can’t expect “flowery beds of ease” but must be prepared to “bear the toil, endure the pain” before we reach our final glorious victory. 

I need to keep reminding myself of this when facing my (trivial!) inconveniences or when thinking about what I might have to suffer for Christ’s sake someday.  I am challenged and chided by the example of Allied soldiers in a World War II documentary I’ve been watching.  These men faced incredible obstacles and impossible odds in their struggle to preserve freedom for me and many others, and they unselfishly gave their lives for that noble cause.  And by God’s grace, freedom prevailed.  How much more for the struggle I face today against both seen and unseen powers.  If God is with us, who can stand against us?  Am I committed enough to endure whatever it takes?

Am I a soldier of the cross,
   A follower of the Lamb?
And shall I fear to own His cause
   Or blush to speak His name?

Must I be carried to the skies
   On flowery beds of ease?
While others fought to win the prize,
   And sailed through bloody seas?

Are there no foes for me to face?
   Must I not stem the flood?
Is this vile world a friend to grace,
   To help me on to God?

Sure I must fight, if I would reign
   Increase my courage, Lord!
I’ll bear the toil, endure the pain,
   Supported by Thy word.

Thy saints, in all this glorious war,
   Shall conquer, though they die;
They view the triumph from afar,
   And seize it with their eye.

When that illustrious day shall rise,
   And all Thy armies shine
In robes of victory through the skies,
   The glory shall be Thine.  (by Isaac Watts)

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