Our theme for this month: “You Gotta Keep Dancing”
Our Bible verse for today: “And what more can I say? Time is too short for me to tell you about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets, who by faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, gained strength in weakness, became mighty in battle, and put foreign armies to flight.” Hebrews 11:32-34 (HCSB)
Our thought for today: “Be a survivor”
One of the books I’m currently reading is the autobiography of Four-Star Navy Admiral William McRaven called “Sea Stories”. Admiral McRaven was a Navy SEAL for thirty-seven years. He planned and commanded the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.
He grew-up as an Air Force brat. His father was a fighter pilot in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. For those years the family lived in close-knit communities in military housing units on Air Force bases in this country and around the world. The families were close and spent lots of time together. So McRaven can vividly recall spending time with “Easy Ed” Taylor, “Wild Bill” Wildman, and “Gentleman” Rod Gunther, all Air Force colonels, all fighter pilots, and all with many war stories to tell.
All of these people – McRaven’s father and mother, the other fighter pilots and their wives, and all of the associated friends – had been children during World War I, they had lived through the Great Depression, they had fought in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, and they were tough. They had lived through it all. Here’s what Admiral McRaven remembers about them:
“They were survivors. They didn’t complain. They didn’t blame others for their misfortune. They worked hard and expected the same from their children. They treasured their friendships. They fought for their marriages. They wore their patriotism on their sleeve, and while they weren’t naïve about America’s faults, they knew that no other country in the world valued their service and sacrifice as much as the United States did. They flew their flags proudly and without apology.”
“They were survivors”. Hebrews chapter 11 tells us about similar people. It is sometimes called “The Faith Hall-of-Fame”. It recounts the stories of many heroic saints of God who faced extreme adversity in life but who did so with faith and courage, with determination and perseverance. They too were survivors. Not necessarily in the sense that they overcame their problems and lived, because some of them didn’t live, some of them died for their faith. They were survivors in the sense that they refused to give-in or give-up. They refused to be crushed or defeated by their circumstances. If they were going to die, they would do it with dignity and courage.
I love examples like that because they inspire the rest of us to also dig-in, suck-it-up, and gut-it-out. The lesson is that they were survivors and you can be too.