I was granted the opportunity to serve in the U. S. Military during the Vietnam war. Some of my friends were sent into battle, and when they came back, if they came back, they were either scarred emotionally or physically. So when I read this story some years ago, it touched me deeply. Let it speak to you, and I’m sure you will learn a lesson from it. If you heard it before, read it again to honor those who gave their all for our country and flag.

A soldier was finally returning home after having fought in Vietnam. As soon as he landed in San Francisco, he called his parents. They were excited to hear his voice and especially thrilled when he told them he was coming home. They were so happy to be able to see him again and have a good time talking things over. But before he hung up, he said to them: “Mom and Dad, I have a favor to ask. I’d like to bring a friend with me.” They were only too glad to approve and said, “Yes, we’d love to meet him.

There was a pause on the telephone, and then the son said: “Thanks, Mom and Dad, but there’s something I think you should know. He was hurt pretty bad in the fighting. He stepped on a landmine, and it blew off his right arm and right leg. He has nowhere else to go, so I’ve invited him to come and live with us. Is that Okay?” Then there was another pause on the phone, and finally, the father said to him, “I’m sorry to hear that about your friend, son. Once you get here, maybe we can find somewhere else for him to live.

Again there was a pause in the conversation, and with deep emotion, the son said, “But dad, it would be hard for him to take care of himself having only one arm and leg. That’s why I want him to live with us.” The father’s voice was a little sterner this time as he told his son, “You don’t know what you’re asking. Someone with such a handicap would be a terrible burden on us. We have our own lives to live, and we can’t let something like this interfere with our lives. I think you should just come home and forget about this guy. He’ll find a way to live on his own.

At that point, the phone went dead. Since the parents didn’t know exactly where he was calling from, they couldn’t call back. So they waited a few minutes for him to call again, thinking they had somehow been disconnected. The minutes turned into hours, and the hours turned into days, but the call still didn’t come. That was, until about a week later. The phone rang, and thinking it was her son, the mother picked up the phone with joy. But it wasn’t her son, it was San Francisco police department. They were sorry to tell her that her son had died after falling off a building. The police believed it was a suicide.

The grief-stricken parents flew to San Francisco and were taken to the city morgue to identify the body of their son. They recognized his face right away. But to their horror, they discovered something they didn’t know. Their son had only one arm and one leg. The father and mother looked at each other in disbelief. Their son had not been talking about a friend, he was talking about himself. They then realized that he was testing them to see if they would accept his friend, then he had no worries that they would accept him.

Why is it some people find it easy to love those who bring them joy and they end up receiving more than they give? But when it comes to dealing with those who may be an inconvenience or cause them to feel uncomfortable, they have little time or interest. They’d rather not cope with others who are not as healthy, active, and smart as they are.

Thankfully, there is someone who won’t treat us that way. Someone who loves us with unconditional love, someone who welcomed us into His family with open arms. Someone who took us in regardless of how messed up, wounded, or distressed we were. And the name of that someone is Jesus.

So tonight, before you climb into bed, ask God will give you the strength you need to accept people as they are, and to help us all be more understanding of those who are different than we are. When you do that, you may be a miracle waiting to happen for someone. Another person who has no one else to love them the same way God loves you.

Think of it this way, God is living in you so you should treat others the same way God treated you. Yes, when we see some people and the terrible condition they are in it may make us cry. But how we react to them as an active listener, having a shoulder they can cry on, ready to give them encouragement instead of always giving advice, and willing to give some time to those who may not have much time left, will get the angels in heaven talking about you and put a big smile on God’s face. – Dr. Robert R Seyda

About drbob76

Retired missionary, pastor, seminary professor, Board Certified Chaplain and American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Director.
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