Several years ago Tom Brokaw wrote a book called The Greatest Generation. It contains the stories of men and women who lived and served during the years of The Great Depression and World War II. My parents were part of that generation. They endured a lot of hardship without letting it defeat them. Can we learn from them?
Today I want to tell you about my mother. She was an amazing woman, when you consider all that she endured. Yet she was an ordinary, hard working person that you wouldn’t necessarily think of as impressive. Let’s take a look at this quiet lady.
Here are some things Mom experienced. When she was a young mother of three (a 5 year old, a 2 year old and a baby less than a year old), my dad was drafted into the army and sent to Germany during the last years of WWII. While there, he was captured, sent to a hospital because of his wounds, and then to a German prison camp. He was missing in action for three months, during which time my mom held on to the hope that he was still alive.
While Dad was away, my brother fell out of a second story window on to the concrete below and suffered a broken arm. He also contracted the dreaded disease Polio and was hospitalized in an iron lung for some time. He survived, but has lived with a shriveled leg ever since. That’s a lot to deal with when your husband isn’t there to help bear the load.
After my dad came home, my mom gave birth to a still born son. Another heavy burden. And then my teenage sister was diagnosed with diabetes. She also suffered a broken back in a sledding accident. She later passed away at the age of seventeen. It was a terrible shock to all of us. One week she was in my wedding, and a week later she was gone from us.
When Dad became a diabetic, my mother was a wise and conscientious nurse to him. He lived into his 80’s because she took such good care of him. Mom, however, suffered a setback when she had her leg amputated. Dad said she never complained. Mom’s response was, “What good would that do?”
Why am I telling you all of this? Because we need to be reminded of her secret. She didn’t rely on her sense of humor or her positive attitude. She accepted things in God’s sovereignty and trusted Him for strength to endure. Paul wrote: “Endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (II Timothy 2:3). How is your endurance these days?