[June 17, 2011] "TODAY'S BLESSING: Picking an old fashioned tea rose during a morning walk in today's cool breezes. Bruised by last night's hailstorm, its sweet fragrance was released to scent the neighborhood. Similarly, the bruises of life reveal our true natures; God can turn our faithfulness during painful experiences into blessings to others. (Miss you, Daddy.)"
Daddy chose a path of valor when he volunteered to serve in the Korean Conflict alongside the troops he had trained. This choice forever changed the course of many lives. Shortly after his 19th birthday, he was rescued after belly crawling for miles over icy fields that led to a safe haven on the other side of the Chosin Reservoir. He lost his fingers, feet and even a part of an ear to frostbite. For the remaining 60 years of his life, he suffered painful consequences of shrapnel wounds, failed executions, a rifle-butt beating, frozen limbs leading to amputations and, ultimately, the scarred frozen lungs that ended his life. Yet, the sweet fragrance of God's grace permeated his life to bring a story of hope and life to all hearers. His bruising experience became the motivation to speak the Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world.
Strangers often commented first about Daddy's missing fingers. Until the final years when he became wheelchair bound, Daddy walked without perceptible difficulty on prosthetic legs. Through the door to communication opened by his wounds, he would tell the questioners how knowing that he had salvation through Jesus' sacrifice gave him strength to overcome every obstacle in his life -- even those multiple execution attempts and later experiences.
Dad's bruising involved far more than physical disability. His deepest sorrows came from devastating losses on the homefront. His prematurely born daughter Debbie died on her sixth day and, son Michael struggled to live with Cystic Fibrosis for thirty years. Throughout these trials, he and his wife Beverly relied on their faith in Jesus Christ, and promises of God's goodness. Through their faithfulness in adversity, many people learned how to have life-changing faith of their own.
As I write this, the fourth anniversary of my father's home-going has just passed. A picture of him smiling hugely supervises my writing desk. As long as I live, I will now feel the profound absence of my wise, loving father. This is but one bruising in my life that releases the fragrance of my testimony of faith.