“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8).
We all have stories of how our lives were changed and how we grew up as children, events that have been the cornerstones of our lives. It is from these times and experiences that we are formed to be the adults that we are today. For some, the events were not good all the time, and for others they are the highlights of their lives─the best of times. All in all, though, they have shaped who we are today. I am not able to say what your experiences were, but at times, I like to write and share mine, thus…this article.
Sometimes the articles will come out sort of hot and can be used to start fires and burn some bridges down! Those articles are meant to give a spotlight on things that are serious, ones that need to be given in their bare essence, straight forward and to the point. My endeavor is never to harm anyone, but rather to show a specific point that few seem to be looking at any more, like salvation—which only comes through the blood of Jesus Christ on the cross. Salvation is a two way street, you are on one side or the other, straightforward and to the exact point. You either belong to Jesus Christ or you do not, it’s as simple as that. Eternity and WHERE you end up, is according to the CHOICE you make. What has been experienced by you in your youth has a lot to do with this, thus the importance of how you were brought up makes such a difference.
I am so very thankful to the Lord and my mom and dad for how I was raised; my mom and dad, born-again Christians and military as well. I had the exclusive opportunity to be raised as a military brat, a name I am so very proud of. Many people think of it as making someone smug and thus they are repulsed by the idea. As a military brat I have seen things and places no one has pictures of or would never experience for themselves: Like swimming in the clearest water I have ever seen, more than 100 feet deep and so clear you could count the stones on the bottom. (Pangasinan Falls in the Luzon Philippine Island.)
It made me think of all the Tarzan movies with Johnny Wiesmiller with towering walls and huge vines, deep green tropical foliage everywhere and then the falls themselves. Bankas (canoes) that two young men would push up stream across big rocks and steep curves until arriving at the falls. You can hear your own voice bounce off these really high rock walls (covered in foliage and vines at some places no more than 50 feet across). The river is emerald green all the way up to just before the falls and then the water falling from the high cliffs is crystal clear. I remember trying to dive to the bottom, but never made it, my ears would begin to ache from the pressure and I would resurface.
How wonderful and beautiful the Lord had made that part of world. Never once during World War II had a single bomb ever fallen there. I do not know whether any troops have seen this place, but I do know it is an absolutely incredible place to go and see. The photographs are not able to do justice to its beauty and tranquility. How odd for me that some ten years later I would be in the Philippine jungle for jungle survival school. As a prelude to a war we were involved in what few could ever erase from their minds. Bugs and spiders as big as your hand, clouds that were not of water, but of rice beetles called Mingda. Spider webs that were 6-8 feet across and centipedes that were a foot long, mountains and valleys of unbelievable beauty, but so filled with pain, suffering and horror. I have since wondered what the Bay of Saigon would look like without all the damage from war.
I have walked the halls of the hospital on Clark Air Base many times with my parents and now it is nothing more than a hollowed out hulk of concrete and overgrown vegetation. And still as yet, I can hear the voices of all the people resonate through those now empty rooms─rooms that I had seen during the war, filled with people and healthcare. I find it sort of funny in a way, the effects of war, in a place of such beauty, certain death miles and miles away.
I am sure the old barn homes on the base are gone now from the ashes of Mount Penatubo and neglect. I know tears would come if I were to go there now and see the devastation of what was once my most favorite home. I know the NCO club would not be there and is forever silent, no longer full of people searching for happiness and acceptence, achingly wishing for some semblance of home and family—some place safe from the pain of a world in war. I still remember thinking to myself if I closed my eyes and then opened them, I would be a military brat again, living there with my mom and dad and everything would be right with the world; happiness and safety would abound.
I can no longer recall the pain I felt the last time I was at Clark Air Base, I was in the military by then. I was in a uniform, a cast was on my right leg from my hip to my ankle and all I wanted to do was to build a fort on one of the hills there again or ride my scooter around the base again. I remember stopping on the ramp as I was about to board an airplane—taking one last look around at the home that I had once loved so much and told myself to say, “Goodbye.” It almost killed my heart, but such are the times of my life, at two divergent periods and now are so intricately woven together. The Bible is truly the Word of God and it can be so specifically applied everywhere! I praise the Lord for my life.
I’m not too sure how this will come across to you, everyone has a past and it is always different in some way or another. As a military brat and later as a military man, I was privy to how the Lord worked in my experience of life, yet from two different directions. I am no longer saddened by this experience, although at one point in time I was. I believe the Lord has made our lives to be best viewed in hindsight where we can better see what HE was doing for us, especially when we didn’t know it. Some things are hard and difficult to remember, while others are a salve that heals and smoothes out the bumps and wounds of our lives. We must learn to give credit where it is due and that always comes back to the Lord, HE is the giver of all things and we need to be respectful in that regard.
Hebrews 13.5-8: “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation. Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.”
We must remember that the Lord is working with us and through us every day that we live, and all of it is to HIS glory! As we all look back across our own lives, we should try and see where the Lord has been working and will continue to until, we meet HIM in the clouds! Let’s come together and thank the Lord for HIS great love for us, that our memories are such a hallmark in our lives. We must in some cases seek out HIS wisdom to understand, but knowing HE is and was always there means more to me than I can ever fully express. Now I look forward to what HE is going to do in my tomorrow!