Where Choices Lead

 

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. –James 1:5 NLT

When I met my husband at the end of January in 1973, I fell in love with those twinkling blue eyes and everything about him. A week later I knew he was the one.

But in March fear set in. I was still feeling the effects of a broken engagement six months earlier. My shattered heart hadn’t had enough time to mend.

“This is happening too fast,” I told him one Friday evening after our date. Then I slipped out of his car and out of his life.

For the next two days, an emotional wrestling match waged war in my heart. What if I was passing up the love of a lifetime? Deep down I knew someone like him might never come along again. But this was my chance to play the field. I was young, free, and independent.

Saturday evening I stayed home. Alone. Miserable.

We had a signal in those days before cell phones. If the living room light was on and the window shade was up, I wasn’t home. If the light was on and the shade down, I was.

I kept peeking through the drawn shade, hoping he’d stop by. I kept that light on and the shade down all night long. By Sunday evening, I made a choice. I grabbed my car keys and went looking for him.

Here we are, about to celebrate our forty-fifth anniversary. I shudder when I think of how close I came to losing him and missing out on the life we’ve had together.

Every choice we make carries with it consequences, some good and some not so good.

When I read the book of Ruth a few weeks ago, it struck me that this story that so beautifully shows the sovereignty and faithfulness of God, is a story of choices. Each of the four main characters had a choice to make. What they chose determined future joy or sorrow, rejoicing or regret.

Elimelech, Naomi’s husband, chose to step out of God’s will and not trust God to provide for him and his family’s needs. He moved his family to Moab, only 55 miles from his hometown of Bethlehem.

The result was disaster. He died in a foreign land, his sons married Moabite women, not women of the Hebrew faith. Then the sons died, leaving Naomi and her two pagan daughters-in-law without provision and protection.

Naomi chose to return to Bethlehem. Stepping back into God’s will led to more blessings than she could ever have dreamed of.

Ruth, Naomi’s daughter-in-law, chose to remain with Naomi rather than return home to “her people and her gods.”

“Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay,” Ruth told her. “Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me” (Ruth 1:16–18).

Ruth’s choice of loyalty led to the love of a lifetime.

Boaz, Elimelech’s relative, chose to honor the law of levirate marriage and take Ruth as his wife. The result was hope for all mankind. The child they had, Obed, became the grandfather of David, whose line produced the Messiah.

The end result for all but Elimelech was joy.

Every choice we make has consequences. Asking God for helpfor wisdom, guidance, and directionwill lead to the right choice, if we choose to listen to Him.

What choices are you facing today?

 Help me, Lord, to choose the right priorities, the right people, the right places, and the right Provider—You. Amen.

Read and meditate on Ruth 1–4.

© 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

“When I Have Your Wounded”

There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. –John 15:13 NLT

In 1964 Major Charles Kelly served as the commanding officer of the 57th Medical Detachment (Helicopter Ambulance) in Vietnam. With only five aging UH-1’s, known as “Hueys,” the 57th’s primary mission was to recover wounded US soldiers.

Under Kelly’s leadership, the medical evacuation program grew and acquired the name “Dustoff,” taken from Vietnam’s red dust that swirled and dusted everything within range when the rotors churned.

Kelly was a soldier’s soldier, a man who stuck his neck out for what he believed. Wounded in World War II, Kelly almost died from his gunshot wounds. But this did little to deter him from doing what he felt he was called to do.

“He was morally and physically fearless,” wrote Major General (ret.) Patrick Brady in his article, “The Decline of Dustoff,” for The American Legion online magazine (June 20, 2013). Brady served in Kelly’s unit and, when Kelly was killed, took over leadership of the 57th.

Kelly was court-martialed three times, Brady reports, but he “cared more about doing what was right than about his career.”

He was called “Crazy Man” and “Mad Man” for his willingness to take on dangerous missions to rescue the wounded and fly at night, which up until Kelly took over, just wasn’t done. But Kelly knew it was vital to get medical help to the wounded as soon as possible.

“Why must a patient wait until sunup when helicopters fly just as well – actually better – at night, and the crew is safer from enemy fire?” Brady noted.

On July 1, 1964, Kelly flew his final mission, to what was supposed to be a secure area. Instead he flew into a “hot” spot, an area under heavy enemy fire. He was warned to back off, but Kelly refused.

“When I have your wounded,” he replied.

A few moments later an enemy bullet pierced his heart.

The next day that very bullet was dropped on Brady’s desk.

“Now are you going to stop flying so aggressively?” he was asked.

Brady grasped the bullet. “We are going to keep flying exactly the way Kelly taught us to fly, without hesitation, anytime, anywhere.”

“Inspired by Kelly,” Brady wrote, “Dustoff became the most revered and effective battlefield operating system in Vietnam, with close to one million souls rescued and unprecedented survival rates.”

Former Army Chief of Staff General Creighton Abrams praised Dustoff: “Courage above and beyond the call of duty was sort of routine for them. It was a daily thing, part of the way they lived.”

Kelly was posthumously awarded the US Army’s Distinguished Service Cross, the second highest award that can be given to a member of the US Army for “extreme gallantry and risk of life in actual combat with an armed enemy force.”

“Greater love has no man than this,” Jesus said, “that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13 RSV).

Tomorrow is Veteran’s Day, a day set aside to honor America’s veterans for “their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.”

Let us remember the veterans among us, as well as those who have passed away and especially those who gave their lives in service to their country.

Thank you, honored men and women, for your service!

Thank you, Lord, for the men and women willing to sacrifice their lives for their country. They remind us of Your Son, who gave His life so others might live with You forever. Amen.

Read and meditate on John 15:9–17.

© 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

Image from The American Legion online magazine, June 20, 2013, “The Decline of Dustoff”