Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, “Which is the first commandment of all?” Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. ‘And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. “And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
So the scribe said to Him, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth, for there is one God, and there is no other but He. “And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
Now when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” But after that no one dared question Him. Mark 12:28-34
There are special people, times, and places which have made an impact on me as I’ve journeyed through life. One of those extraordinary events took place a few years ago when my wife and I were given the privilege of working behind the scenes at Operation Heal Our Patriots (OHOP) in Alaska. (See Veterans Day 2015 The Beating Heart of a Patriot).
During that time we were honored to meet eighty remarkable people who have sacrificed much for America to remain a free nation. Since my wife and I were support staff (and quite busy with our work), we didn’t have much time to get to know many of the eighty visitors to OHOP that month. But each week, the Lord arranged for us to be able to spend a little extra time with some of those folks. One of those special couples is Jason and Rachel Hallett. As with a few others, their story has remained in my heart long after we left Alaska. In fact, I still pray for Jason and Rachel most every day.
Jason was wounded while in Afghanistan. Those bent on terror had set a trap which injured Jason while he defended our freedom. Pictured above is Jason with his daughter Marina, so named to commemorate the Marines, the military branch Jason chose to serve his country. Jason and Rachel also have a son, Jason Jr., Marina’s twin!
On the final day couples are at OHOP, we all gather around a fire ring near the center of the lodge. It was cold and rainy the Friday when Jason’s group met. I think everyone was bundled up with multiple layers and raincoats. All but one of us, that is.
Another former Marine, a rather large fellow, called across the group: “Jason, I’ve already told my kids you’re the toughest Marine I’ve ever met. How can you be out here in just shorts and a T-shirt?”
“Aw, I just reached down deep for a can of man!” came Jason’s witty reply.
A microphone was always passed around during this fireside time together, and anyone who desired could comment on what the week with other veterans had meant to him or her. The comments were always humbling to hear, and I still remember a few. When the mic was passed to Jason, these are the words I recall: “I know you guys can get down sometimes. Just call me. Anytime, day or night. Call me. I’m there for you. Just call.”
I hope you’ll take another look at the picture at the top of this post.
As long as I am able, I will stand for our National Anthem.
Thank you, Jason and Rachel. Thanks seems so small compared to what you have to deal with every day. But sometimes that’s the best I’ve got.
Thank you, Veterans.
Hope you have a good day.
And I hope you won’t miss an opportunity to thank a Vet – every time you get a chance.
To learn more about Operation Heal Our Patriots, please visit: Operation Heal Our Patriots
To learn how to have a relationship with God, see Got God?