I watched a video about a 92-year-old World War II veteran. He was a crewmember on a TBM Avenger aircraft. He was being honored at an airshow and given an opportunity to sit once again in a crewmember seat of a TBM where he sat many times during perilous combat missions. Sitting in the aircraft 72 years later was very nostalgic for the old man. As the video rolled on, you could see him reach out and touch the airframe as if the aircraft was alive and speaking to him.
The old veteran was magically transported back to his 20th year of life. He saw once again the instruments he needed to read and interpret for the pilot while performing his flight crew duties. He remarked that the TBM was a good aircraft “that always brought us home.” In the next segment of the video, he was invited to fly once again in a beautifully restored TBM Avenger.
As the aircraft taxied out to the runway people lined both sides of the taxiway saluting, waving and cheering the old man who was smiling with wonder and appreciation. You could hear the airshow announcer drawing the attention of the attendees to watch this special moment of honor and recognition.
When the Avenger lined up with the runway heading and the pilot advanced the throttle, the old man’s face became childlike as the aircraft began to accelerate down the runway. A twenty-year-old in an aging body was flying once again. The moment of liftoff appeared to take the old man’s breath away. I lost control of my emotions while sharing in his joy. I sensed this would be his last flight.
Some of you are the old veteran aviator. You may have thought no one would remember your sacrifice and service in God’s Kingdom. Just as the old veteran experienced a special moment of honor and recognition, God has a plan to invite you back to what you considered lost in the pain of your history.
A moment of honor is approaching. You have one more flight to experience. It will be a very special flight. This flight will be a flight of honor to thank you for your service to God, family, and friends.
The Lord has not forgotten what you did in moments of great risk and peril with your acts of sacrificial love and service. Choosing the righteous path has given the following generations of your family line the gift of spiritual freedom. Your victories in spiritual battle made a way for those you love to live a life of peace and their gratitude is about to be expressed. Just as it was when the vintage WWII aircraft taxied out and the crowd of people stood to salute the old veteran, many of us will stop what we are doing to stand to honor you and your service to the King. You have not been forgotten.