I'll never forget the day, December 25th, 1990, Christmas Day, the day I made what could have been my last phone call to my family. I was calling from the payphone in the Marine barracks at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. We were about to be deployed to Saudi Arabia the 27th to take our place in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
I knew my family would all be gathered together at my grandmother's house for Christmas and it was the best time to talk to everyone one last time before we flew out. As I spoke to everyone one by one, one particular conversation stuck with me all this time. One of my sisters tearfully said to me, "I always thought you were special." I didn't ask what she meant by that. Special in what way? Special because I was the kind of Christian that wanted to be a preacher since I was 10 years old? Special because I volunteered to serve in the Marines or that I volunteered to go to war? I never thought of myself as anyone special; still don't today.
However, we are all special. We are all different and unique and that's what makes us all special. But there is something else that is even more important that makes us special. I wrote about it in a devotional earlier this year; a Scripture from the Bible that reveals something very unique and special about how God thinks of us. We are His children. That alone should tell us that we are special to Him. How many parents out there think their kids are special, if for no other reason, because they are God's blessing to you.
Let me go over the context of Luke chapter 12 verses 4 through 7. Jesus explains that we should not fear anything in this world. He takes care of His creation and we are special to Him. God takes care of even the least of His creation; the sparrows. No one gives a sparrow much thought, unless of course you are a bird watcher. But God loves all of His creation and will look after each one in a special way. When comparing us to sparrows, He says we are of more value than many sparrows. He even has the hairs of our head numbered. Who does that? Is God standing behind me right now as I type this out, counting the hairs on my head? (It wouldn't take very long.) Actually, God has infinite knowledge and He created every one of us. So why wouldn't He know every little detail about us. God knows more about us than anyone else, including ourselves. Just like parents know more about their children than anyone else. But God's knowledge is different. He knows our thoughts, our fears, and our heart.
So yes, I was special. And I carried that thought in my mind throughout the entire war. As long as I am faithful to God, nothing will happen to me that is contrary to His plan.
I’m sharing a couple of letters I wrote to my grandmother and sister later that day, at 5 PM.
“Hi Grandma. It was good to talk to everyone today. I hope everybody enjoyed Christmas. I just came back home from eating our Christmas dinner. We had a choice of ham, turkey, or roast. They had potatoes or yams, and corn, peas, dressing (I didn’t dare try it), rolls, and pies, ice cream and more. It was pretty good. But I hope that in 365 days, I’ll be having Christmas at your house. That's all I want for Christmas next year! Well, I want to keep this short so I can write a few more letters and maybe try to call Chris. Happy New Year!"
"Hi Robin. Hope you had a good Christmas. Mine wasn't so bad. I'm glad I was able to call. I was saying to myself this morning that all I want for Christmas is to be able to call Grandma's on time (The lines for the payphones were extremely long). So I got my Christmas present. Well, I'm trying to [write] everyone tonight so I better keep it short. I just wanted to say hi and that I appreciate all the good things you said to me. I love you."
“But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.”