"Remember the days of old; consider the years of many generations; ask your father, & he will show you, your elders, & they will tell you. When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when he divided mankind, He fixed the borders of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God. But the Lord's portion is His people, Jacob His allotted heritage." Deuteronomy 32:7-9
Elizabeth has always told me that no matter where I go, people seem to want to talk to me. That was no truer than Monday, when I was grocery shopping. They are remodeling the Kroger I normally trade at. (The manager says that it will make everything much easier & more convenient, but how can it be easier to switch things when I know where everything is now?) I came across an older gentleman in the soup section. He was cursing out the dry soup for being so expensive, but he was doing it in German. When he noticed me, he turned & apologized for being in the way, & I told him (also in German) that he shouldn't use that kind of language in public. He just smiled & said that is why he was speaking in Germany.
The gentleman, Mr. James Jones, wore a ball cap with the insignia for the USS Hornet, & he began to tell me how his grandmother taught him German when he was a boy, & how it came in handy during World War II, when most of his fellow sailors on the carrier sent letters home to parents & grandparents written in German. Over the next 30 minutes, he let me know about that great ship, how he was on the deck crew that saw off Colonel Doolittle & his men on the first bombing of Tokyo, how they didn't know until days after that the US won the battle of Midway, & how he finally go to fly a dive bomber during the battle of Guadalcanal. He spoke of the injury to his eye that ended his flying career, & how he still loves to attend reunions & talking about being a 17-year-old boy on the deck of an aircraft carrier. At 92 years old, he looks back at it all & thanks God that he made it through all the bullets & bombs when so many friends & fellow navy men did not return home.
That kind of meeting will remind anyone of the blessings that God gives to each & every one of us. We may never stand on the deck of a giant steel ship in the pitching sea & wonder whether the plane in front of us can even lift off, much less return from its mission. We may never see more than 60 years, much less see 90 with our children, grandchildren & great-grandchildren. We may never be able to meet again with people we knew in our teens, when our teens were half a century ago. But we can all stand where we are at this very moment & thank God for bringing us safely to this day. We can look back on our years & see how the love of God has guided us through our victories & failures, our good days & sickness, & see the love of Christ that has held us.
I am glad that I can get held up by strangers, & sometimes old friends, in the most mundane places. I am truly happy that God seems to have given me a face that people want to talk to because I have often heard from so many different people how God has helped, guided, & loved His people through the years. I have heard how the Gospel of Jesus Christ has saved some from addiction, seen some through disease, even taken away anger & vengeful wrath from past persecutors. All of these remembrances show how our Lord has, & still, will hold each & every one of His sons & daughters in the palm of His hand. Each encounter is like a living page of a book of Scripture still being written on how our Lord continues to care for us, whether we are a pilot flying in the midst of battle, r just the man on the deck of the ship clearing the way for the planes to fly.