by Nancy Kay Grace @NancyKayGrace
I thank my God every time I remember you. Philippians 1:3 NIV
The noise in the crowded airport prevented much conversation as I waited by my gate. People dragging suitcases rushed past. Parents entertained antsy toddlers. Teenagers remained oblivious to those around as they listened to music or played electronic games. Business travelers worked on laptops.
Suddenly, in the midst of all that noise, the atmosphere changed.
One person started clapping slowly. Applause began with one person, and then spread to another and another. Startled, I looked around for the reason for this. Someone pointed in an upward direction. Through a walkway above the terminal, men and women entered in army fatigues and carrying duffel bags.
Soon everyone in the crowded gate area joined the applause. More and more soldiers entered the walkway. I was witnessing the return of heroes. The applause continued, growing louder and louder with cheers and whistles.
Hundreds of soldiers—heroes—had returned from deployment. My heart was stirred with a mix of gratitude, unity, and patriotism.
Now in line to give the ticket agent my boarding pass, the spontaneous applause continued. Soldiers streamed into the airport. Some waved to the crowd below. Outside, more deplaned. I wish I could have stayed to applaud for every last one, but I needed to board my plane. As I stepped into the jet bridge, I glanced over my shoulder for one last look at the returning defenders of freedom with gratitude in my heart.
The scene in the airport reminded me that we are the benefactors of the courage of many who defend our country. They deserve a heroes’ applause everyday.
The apostle Paul wrote “I thank God every time I remember you” in his letter to the Philippians (1:3 NIV). He’d opened his letter expressing gratitude for their participation in the spread of the gospel. They had welcomed him with open arms and financially assisted him throughout his ministry. Even though they’d never left their city, in light of their continual support, Paul considered them his partners.
This gratitude reminder came to my mind that day in the airport.
Not everyone may be able to serve as a soldier, but everyone can strengthen the spiritual fiber of our nation through grateful prayer. In this important way we can partner with those who serve on the frontlines.
For those who have served or are now serving the country, I thank God every time I remember you.
About the author: Nancy Kay Grace is a speaker and award-winning author of The Grace Impact, a devotional about the touch of God’s grace in our lives. She has contributed to several Chicken Soup for the Soul books, The Upper Room devotional, as well as online and print magazine articles. She loves sharing stories of God’s faithfulness and grace. To learn more about her ministry, please visit her website at http://www.nancykaygrace.com to sign up for her monthly GraceNotes devotional.
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