I am going to be telling this current generation of the loving-kindness of my Father in Heaven through King Jesus.
“They are not being as respectful as I would have thought,” I said under my breath. After a number of delays, we finally made it to Hawaii, and one of our priorities was to visit the Arizona Memorial. The Battleship USS Arizona, BB 39, was sunk on December 7, 1941, during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. A bomb from a Japanese plane triggered a massive explosion, sinking the ship, with over 1,170 members of the crew perishing as it sank that day. The memorial was built over the sunken ship where most of the crew are entombed. The outline of the sunken ship is clearly visible below. We had been cautioned to display an appropriate sense of solemnity before boarding the shuttle, but the atmosphere was less than solemn.
At the back of the memorial, in front of the wall listing all who were entombed below, was a list of surviving Arizona crew members who, upon their death, had their remains interred with their fellow shipmates. For Lynne and me, it was a solemn and inspiring moment. Reflecting on the fact there are very few remaining Pearl Harbor survivors, the thought crossed my mind that I want to live to be the oldest surviving Vietnam veteran. I held that smug thought for about 10 minutes, long enough to reboard the shuttle and head toward shore. Sitting there in contemplation, I felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit asking me, “Is that really what you want for yourself?” If I were younger, He could have just said, “Seriously?” but us old guys need a little more clarification than that.
Over the next few days, I had the impression that God wanted me to revisit that thought and seriously consider the future. I was reminded of a passage of Scripture that has been encouraging to me:
“But I will hope continually and will praise You yet more and more. My mouth will tell of Your righteous acts, of Your deeds of salvation all the day, for their number is past my knowledge. With the mighty deeds of the Lord God I will come; I will remind them of Your righteousness, Yours alone. O God, from my youth You have taught me, and I still proclaim Your wondrous deeds. So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim Your might to another generation, Your power to all those to come.” —Psalm 71:14-18 (ESV)
This is the life God desires for us as Men of Valor, one engaged with a generation that has not heard of His righteous acts, that has not heard of His mighty deeds.
This old-age thing is kind of a two-edged sword. Hopefully you have gained some spiritual wisdom and insight over the years, but this vessel of clay presents its own unique challenge. One thing I have learned: As long as you are being obedient to His call to serve, you will be here until that work is finished. How do I know that? Look at the two witnesses in Revelation:
“And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. And if anyone would harm them, fire pours from their mouth and consumes their foes. If anyone would harm them, this is how he is doomed to be killed. They have the power to shut the sky, that no rain may fall during the days of their prophesying, and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague, as often as they desire. And when they have finished their testimony, the beast that rises from the bottomless pit will make war on them and conquer them and kill them.” —Revelation 11:3-7
These guys are like the “Special Ops” team of prophets. They’re blowing and going; they’re turning and burning. Notice that their lives are protected until “they have finished their testimony.”
You and I have that same assurance. Paul had that assurance. When he came to the end, he knew he had run the race, and he was going to receive the prize (2 Timothy 4:6-8). Once I have finished my ministry here, why would I want to hang around any longer? Maybe I will be the oldest living Vietnam veteran (I am praying that it will be my twin brother instead though). In the process, I am going to be telling this current generation of the loving-kindness of my Father in Heaven through King Jesus, my Lord and Savior.
What say ye, Man of Valor?
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