The Congressman walked confidently up the ramp to the stage and tossed his cane into the crowd, his message beginning even before he spoke. Two robotic metal legs were proudly displayed beneath gray wool shorts, and I could not stop staring at the marvel of this man’s energy and fitness under such circumstances.
Within the first few minutes, Brian Mast declared his faith in Christ and began to tell his story. The former bomb disposal expert spoke of the day that the last improvised explosive device he discovered in Afghanistan blew off his legs, part of his arm and hand, and left him bleeding out as he waited for search and rescue to arrive. “I won’t say that I don’t wish I had my legs back from time to time,” he said, “but I would not change the opportunity to protect my country and save my fellow soldiers.”
That was a “wow” moment in his speech for sure, but what he said next is worthy of a wall plaque, embroidered pillow, or even to be written in the sky:
“The disability we all have is the one I had before I went in the army; not my legs. It is a lack of courage to live what you believe. That is a disability every one of us faces. Own who you are, whatever that may be.”
Now to fully understand the power of his statement, you have to weigh it against his former title of “EOD” (explosive ordinance disposal) and the medals this man has earned: The Bronze Star Medal, The Army Commendation Medal for Valor, The Purple Heart Medal, and The Defense Meritorious Service Medal.
I don’t remember much of the rest of the message, to be honest, because I immediately fell into prayer for myself, my kids, grandchildren, husband, and the some 900 students surrounding me. “Lord, help us to ‘own’ our faith in you,” I pleaded, “so that all the world will know of your love.” The room erupted into applause and shouts, every single person in the room spontaneously standing in the Congressman’s honor, and I believe standing in a promise to develop courage in their own lives.
Paul prayed for the church to be strengthened with all might (Col. 1:11), to “own” what they had come to believe. I am going to ask you to pray a little longer today because this may be your most important day of prayer this week. This generation, much like the one Paul was living in, is being assaulted with an agenda that is contrary to everything you and I believe, love, and aspire for our children. And though you are diligent as a parent, Satan is just as diligent. I am not telling you to be fearful. No, I am asking you to pray for courage to stand firm! Prayer, your consistent, earnest prayer, will be strength and protection for your children.
TODAY: Pick one verse at a time from Ephesians 6:11-17 to think deeply about. Breathe in every word as you pray, inserting your child’s name and paraphrasing with his/her own situations and personality.
Put on all of God’s armor so that __________ will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For ________ is not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece