Nine years ago this month, I jumped out of an airplane over the Pocono Mountains. Last week, my husband and children and I watched the video of it for the first time since then, and had a good laugh over watching my face flap around 20,000 feet above the earth!
The predominant thought in my mind that day is still clear. Besides thinking how glorious it would be if I made it back to the ground in one piece, I remember being overwhelmed at the idea that thousands of young men with sweethearts and mothers and fathers and siblings back home, jumped out of airplanes over a beach in Normandy one fateful day in June of 1944. As I floated high above the earth, I remember thinking how terrifying that would be – jumping out of a plane into territory occupied by the enemy, knowing full well you were an easy target, and life might be ended before you ever reached the ground (which was the fate for many of the allied troops).
That particular memory has always stayed with me. Memorial Day for me is more than just a time to honor our veterans and our deceased with a moment of silence. It is a day to offer up the sacrifice of thanksgiving for all the privileges we enjoy as American citizens. Perhaps the greatest way we can honor the high cost that our forerunners paid is to take the time to say a prayer on behalf of our land, that is so desperately sick. Psalm 85 is a specific prayer for God’s mercy upon a nation. Please take a minute to pray it aloud – you’ll be blessed:
O Lord, You showed favor to Your land;
You restored the captivity of Jacob.
You forgave the iniquity of Your people;
You covered all their sin. Selah.
You withdrew all Your fury;
You turned away from Your burning anger.
Restore us, O God of our salvation,
And cause Your indignation toward us to cease.
Will You be angry with us forever?
Will You prolong Your anger to all generations?
Will You not Yourself revive us again,
That Your people may rejoice in You?
Show us Your lovingkindness, O Lord,
And grant us Your salvation.
I will hear what God the Lord will say;
For He will speak peace to His people, to His godly ones;
But let them not turn back to folly.
Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him,
That glory may dwell in our land.
Lovingkindness and truth have met together;
Righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
Truth springs from the earth,
And righteousness looks down from heaven.
Indeed, the Lord will give what is good,
And our land will yield its produce.
Righteousness will go before Him
And will make His footsteps into a way.