I recall a story told to me by Grandma Mayo before she passed away. It was a faith story she’d shared more than once that involved her oldest son, J.T., who had been called to the war effort and an old car that was not in the best of conditions. She had one last opportunity to visit him before he was to be shipped off to serve our country and the family had one mode of transportation, that was at its best, undependable.
As Grandma told the story, she and one of her middle sons, David, loaded into the old car and started on their way to Fort Polk where J.T. was stationed, when they heard a sound of air gushing from one of the front tires. After a quick inspection, David sadly told his mama that the trip wouldn’t be possible. The tire was almost flat and beyond repair. In those days, purchasing another tire was impossible, and even if it was, there was no money to purchase one. It appeared that Grandma would not get to see the face of her boy before he deployed.
Except Grandma Mayo had faith, and it wasn’t in the impossibility of the almost flat tire or the lack of funds to fix the problem. Her faith, not surprisingly, was in God and His ability to do the impossible.
Grandma looked at her son and said something like this, “David, you do the driving and I’ll do the praying”, and that’s exactly what happened.
That little woman of faith and her son made that trek from Harrisonburg, LA, with air gushing from an old used up tire all the way to the base. When the car stopped at their destination, Grandma stopped praying; somehow that old tire stayed intact – at half-mast, with just enough air to sustain it throughout their visit.
Grandma spent precious time with J.T. and when the visit was over, she and David loaded back into the same car with the same damaged tire, and Grandma resumed praying. They made the journey home and pulled into the driveway with the tire still spewing air. When the gear was put into park and the engine stopped, they got out in time to see the tire give a final gust of air and go flat. Flatter than a flitter, so to speak. To say it was a miracle would be an apt description. It was a direct result of her faith and prayers to the living God.
Not only did she cover that tire with prayer, but she also covered her boy with prayer. It wasn’t long after that David was also called into the war effort to serve in ground troops in the Black Forest of Germany. He too, deployed covered in the faith and prayers of a mama and daddy who knew how to touch God and trust Him for their son’s safety and survival. God answered those prayers, and both lived to tell their own faith stories and serve the Lord until, like the old tire, they drew their last breaths.
There’s no counting the prayers that have been prayed over American men and women who have bravely fought the wars that have kept this country in unmatched freedoms. Many prayers were prayers like Grandma Mayo prayed that have brought countless sons and daughters back home to their families. Other prayers seemed unanswered in the respect that lives were given leaving arms and hearts empty of loved ones who gave all to this country. Yet, the same God that brought veterans home to their families, reached out in comfort that only He can give and wrapped those hurting hearts in His healing love. Those, too, are faith stories.
As we attempt to express our gratitude to our veterans, let’s also extend our prayers over their memories and sacrifices that only they know and understand the depth and cost. Most keep their war memories to themselves, some living with images and stories they would rather never have acquired and are reluctant, if not unwilling, to share. We are a nation forever in debt to their sacrifice and service, and without which, we would not be here to say, “Thank you” to our veterans who served so bravely.