I didn’t set out to have a memorable Veteran’s Day experience, but I ended up with one I’ll never forget. I had arrived near Shreveport six hours earlier, at the tail end of a late night drive that came to a screeching halt when I conceded to nearly losing my fight to remain awake behind the wheel. The Fairfield Inn just off the Interstate looked somewhat akin to the Taj Mahal to my bloodshot eyes, and the bed was comfortable, at least what I can remember of it. What might best be termed a “nap” jump started me for my journey eastward into Louisiana, the Pelican state, Sportsman’s paradise, and state of my birth. I arrived for my first business appointment less than an hour later. To be completely honest, I have the best job in the world – thanking good people for selfless acts, praying for the same, and sharing stories of what God is doing around the world; I have no idea why my employer hired me, but I thank God daily that they did. The only downside is that I’m away from the most wonderful woman in the world a good deal, but her forbearance simply adds to her appeal and frees me to offer my best.
My final meeting of the day was to be with a husband and wife, the caveat being that the man was scheduled for chemo therapy in the morning, making his wife uncertain that he would feel up to a visit. I phoned an hour before the appointment and learned that I could make the visit, so I headed toward the magnolia and oak lined streets of University Terrace. The first thing I observed was the fresh wooden wheelchair ramp gradually ascending to the front of the two story brick Tudor. I pressed a small doorbell to the right of massive waxed mahogany doors, and shortly thereafter one of the doors opened and I was greeted by a man wearing a black ball cap emblazoned with ‘Vietnam Veteran’ in front, a black windbreaker with the US Army logo over the chest, holding an elongated wooden walking stick with a knob at the top that reminded me of the end of a femur. He extended his hand and I took it as his wife walked up and introduced herself and referred to her husband as “the General.”
They led me into what my grandmother would have called the parlor, a formal living room adorned with a breathtaking array of oriental furnishings and decor. The setting was so surreal that I feared I would be unable to concentrate on conversation, that is, until they began sharing their unforgettable story. I learned that this was no ordinary soldier; I sat face-to-face with a bonafide American hero. His military awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit (third oak leaf cluster), Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (fifth oak leaf cluster), Army Commendation Medal (with oak leaf cluster), Army Achievement Medal, Special Forces tab, and the Parachutist Badge. He is a four star general, recently retired following forty years of military service, but something was terribly out of place. A man who dined with kings and presidents and commanded combat troops literally around the globe is now fighting for his life against Leukemia. I listened spellbound as they recounted his post retirement ordeal and relayed with a guarded note of optimism their game plan to defeat the disease, and learned that they anticipate a bone marrow transplant in three months if he remains healthy enough to undergo the procedure. They listened politely and with genuine interest when I shared what God is doing across the nations, then, not wanting to overstay his stamina, I asked if I might pray for him before leaving. He agreed and we stood in a tight triangle. I placed my arm around his shoulder and began to pray for God to heal this man from inside out and outside in. I said “Amen” and wiping away tears I offered to see myself out. The general insisted on walking with me to my car and we exited the house down the long ramp leading to the curb. I assured him I would pray daily for him and with jaw set and chin held at a dignified degree, the general thanked me and said I must return so that he might share his story in greater length. I agreed and silently prayed while pulling away from the curb, “Please Lord, heal this man for your glory.”
I’ve never done this before in a post, but I’m asking for 50 believers to commit to joining me in praying for the General’s healing every day for 50 days, starting today and continuing through January 1. If you will join me, please simply reply to this post by saying “I will pray.” Thank you.