Walmart, Iwo Jima & Jesus

I promise you, the title will make sense by the end of this post! :)

My family and I were out and about today and on our way back home we made a trip to Walmart.

Grocery Store
Now let me be honest, learning a great spiritual truth is not the norm I expect from Walmart. Yet, the Lord's ways of working are indeed so much more different than I expect at times. (Isaiah 55:8-9)

As he walked in, he stood out from the other shoppers. No, it wasn't because of his obvious advanced age. Or the fact that he was still coming into the grocery store on his own and he had no cane or walker.
It was his hat. A hat that read, "Iwo Jima Survivor."

Now, I don't begin to have all the famous or infamous battles of the world memorized, but I knew about this one. Iwo Jima was one of the most bloodiest World War 2 battles fought as the Allies pushed back the Japanese and this specific battle was fought from February 19th to March 26th, 1945.

Cross Tombstones

I did some quick mental calculations and concluded this man was nearly ninety years old, if not already.

The Lord then proceeded to prompt me to go over and thank him for the service he gave to our country so long ago. My nervousness got ahold of me and I waffled with that command till the man was checking out. I walked over to the door and caught up to him as he headed towards the exit.
I don't recall my exact words to him except that I thanked him for his service to our country.

That's when he said it. Three profound words that are still ringing in my mind tonight.

"Thanks for remembering."


Thinking back to those three words he spoke with genuine gratitude, it makes me stop and think.

How many dozens of people walked by him in the store remembered and cared enough to thank this man for the years of his life he sacrificed so we can pick up our milk and eggs in peace and freedom?

To be honest, I believe the answer is not many, if any. It is amazing how quickly we can forget the great sacrifices of others on our behalf.

Yet, the Lord didn't end the day with a lesson that I need to be more diligent in thanking our nation's veterans. By no means.

He made it even more challenging than that.

How many times do I start my day, jump out of bed, rush about, say a good morning to Jesus and a quick prayer as I fly out the door to start my busy day?

How often do I pause at the beginning of the day and throughout just to stop and say, "Thank You Jesus."?

Not to diminish the brave work of the man I met at Walmart tonight, yet Jesus didn't storm a beach for me. He stormed the gates of death. He died a death that I deserved to die. A death that I cannot even begin to imagine the horror and pain of it.

Stone Cross

Yet, how often do I remember that and care enough to say thank you, so Jesus can say to me too, "Thanks for remembering."?

Am I so calloused as to walk by the Savior of my soul on a daily basis and not fall on my face before Him in gratitude?
We are talking redirected from eternity in Hell to eternity in Heaven, from sinner to saint, slave of sin to child of God, powerless to empowered, purposeless to purposeful, hopeless to hope-filled, misery to joy, worry to peace, full of myself to full of the Holy Spirit and the list could go on and on.

"Thanks for remembering."

Am I?

Do I truly care?

What's crowding out my heart of gratitude?

By the grace of God I desire to live in an attitude of gratitude.
No more of this running past the Lord without so much as a thank you.
It is time to start remembering the price He paid and fully living the life I've been given in reverent worship of the One who saved my soul!

"Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead."
- 2 Timothy 2:8a