Saturday, October 21, 2017

Your Unfinished Letter

During World War II, my uncle Dan served in the Army. He carried a Thompson submachine gun and was on the front end of some of the major campaigns in the Pacific. I remember as a kid cutting weeds on his ranch in McArthur, California with a Japanese officer’s sword he picked up after he won out in a firefight with the officer. He never talked about the war. It was something painful in his past.

Uncle Dan had a twin sister, my aunt Beth. Once when visiting my aunt she showed me a letter written to her from my uncle during the war. The letter was brittle and brown from the passing of time.  Across the letter was streaked a stain of mud.  My aunt read the letter up to the point where the mud stain interrupted the writing. As my uncle began to write his letter their unit came under attack. A mortar exploded near my uncle streaking the letter with mud. My uncle had to stop writing to fight in yet another battle. Hours later, he returned to his writing apologizing for the interruption. He finished writing the letter from the point of the mud-stained interruption and sent the letter home to his sister.

As this memory came to mind, I thought immediately of some of you who were in the middle of a season of life when a personal war broke out. You may not have been in the middle of a world war, but it felt like it to you. It could have been a relationship that broke up, a ministry that fell apart or a business that went sideways. Before you is a promise mud-stained at the point of a painful interruption. The story of that chapter of your life is still unfinished. It is like my uncle’s wartime letter. After the battle, he returned and finished the letter. It is time to finish the letter of that painful season of your life. Don’t let it remained unfinished. Those of us back home need to hear that you made it through the conflict. Go back to the promise God gave you that was interrupted by the mud stain of personal conflict and finish your story.                                                                                

When the letter from my uncle finally arrived home it was held as a treasured possession of my aunt for many decades all the way up to her death at age 96. The mud stains on your life are part of your story. Write it and the rest of us will read your words with the honor and respect they deserve. Your finished letter will be to us a treasured possession.

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