In most other countries of the world, the life of a single mom of five children would be very different from the life my children and I lead.
Here in the Great United States of America, my family’s struggles come in many forms. I don’t know how to get my kids to their different activities. I don’t have time to sit and do schoolwork and college applications and scholarship searches. My heart breaks when my boys miss having a full time dad to throw a baseball around, to watch the big football game with, or to look up to as a strong, faith-filled, loving, loyal, and present role model. Our struggles involve not being able to buy a good car, cutting back on family vacations, and hand-me-down clothing.
Wow! Are my struggles nothing when I sit and think of how they match up to the struggles of those desperate to work for any amount of money, those struggling to find food in garbage dumps, those dying unattended from curable diseases, those scared, afraid, hurting for no reason other than that they were born in a part of the world we’d rather not recognize.
Sometimes we get so caught up in the very real struggles we face that we forget how much more magnified those struggles would be if we lived somewhere, almost anywhere, else in the world.
Perhaps “magnified” isn’t even the right word. Most of our struggles would not be possible in most other areas of the world.
Despite the US’s recent decline, we are still among the wealthiest people in the world, even the poorest of US citizens are wealthier than so much of the rest of the world, and that wealth is not just in the form of material possessions.
We are rich in ways the rest of the world cannot fathom, rich in freedom and opportunity, rich in our ability to defend ourselves and to gather and speak and worship.
We are rich in intangible ways, and suddenly, when we look beyond ourselves, we see that our little struggles, as real and as difficult as they are – and they ARE! – are nothing compared to what the rest of the world is facing, and we must ask who is to thank for our riches?
For me, there are two that come to mind.
The Lord who created our land
and the Military Personnel who,
with God’s help, defend our land.
Our lives would be very different without the Brave men and women who defend our nation and who help give us our freedoms and opportunities. Sadly, what they have been given is often taken for granted by those who fail to educate themselves, by those who are too busy to vote, and by those who forget to say thank you.
Today, on Veteran’s Day, let us each remember these men and women dan their families and remember to say thank you to them and to the Lord for them. Let us not take them or the wealth they give us for granted.
In Matthew, Chapter 19 The Rich Young Man, Jesus tells his disciples,
Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.
We must not forget that riches, do not necessarily mean material possessions, but also intangible gifts. We, in America, have been given amazing gifts. Use your gifts to build others and take the time, on Veteran’s Day and every day, to thank our soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and coast guard and their families for all they have given us.
Please, take a moment out of your evening to stop and pray for those who defend our country, for those who have died and been wounded, mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and physically because of the scars caused by our desire for freedom and opportunity, for the families who often suffer in silence, and for those who are not as fortunate as we are, for those in lands without Brave Heroes to protect, honor, and defend.
Thank you to all who have served and to their families. You are needed. You are appreciated. You are Loved.