We wait for deliverance.
We wait for the moment we are saved from trials.
And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience
And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
Romans 5:3-4 KJV
My father waited patiently for that moment of deliverance.
He lay face down in the mud.
The footsteps of death marched only yards behind him
The sounds of life pounded in his ears.
The pulse of his heart beat in his head
as he silently gasped for air above the water line of the rice field
where he lay prone.
By rolling into the muddy rice paddy at dusk my father escaped his captors, the opposing army who brutally pushed the line of 70,000 prisoners towards a POW camp at the edge of the Bataan Peninsula in the Philippines.
He waited, patiently,
for the right moment.
For the right moment of deliverance
from the hell of war he had been experiencing the past four months.
There had been no hope.
There had been no rescue.
There had been no support.
The Filipino and American troops battling together on the edge of a foreign jungle from the start of World War II had no more reserve to fight.
And so they surrendered.
But the capture was worse than the fight as the merciless enemy tried to beat down even further the will of these men. 70,000 men of different colors. Different countries. Fighting as one.
Their suffering produced endurance.
Their suffering produced character.
Their suffering produced hope.
As Easter approaches I remember
the suffering of my father and countless others who endured the Bataan Death March of World War II. He fought as one with others for a country he had never seen.
He waited patiently
in the mud
in the mire
for the one moment that would bring deliverance to himself
and to generations after him.
in the mud
while Death marched behind him
only footsteps away
gave way to rescue. To deliverance. To hope.
The word patience in Greek means: a patient enduring, sustaining, perseverance.
I think of what my father patiently endured for hope. For through the mud he saw a light in the distance. The light of a farmhouse. A refuge.
He waited patiently for hours for the right moment. And at the right moment, he ran towards the light.
And there, he threw off the clothes of death and war.
He put on worn, tattered clothes, the camiseta of a young boy.
And with these clothes he could walk undetected among the crowd of civilians escaping, war, disease and death
and head towards home.
This is the story of Easter.
That God waited for the right moment, to save us,
To rescue us from death and despair.
And give us new clothes to wear towards the journey home.
A land of promise.
A land of restoration.
A land of hope.
As Easter approaches,
do we see its meaning is an act of patience?
That God patiently endures our history of turning against him,
of raising our fists in anger at him,
of crying against him with our questions of Why?
When He Himself patiently endured pain and death
to bring us peace: Eirene (Greek) wholeness.
Through God’s patience, enduring pain, insults, accusations
He himself brings us Peace: wholeness
He brings us Hope: the joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation.
Waiting for the right moment brought my father deliverance.
Waiting, enduring in steadfast faith brings us the greatest gift. Salvation.