I’ve often wondered how people’s personal stories might have been different if it hadn’t been for war. I am aware that for many of you reading this may actually be, right now, in the midst of a war, and I can only imagine the horrors you are going through on a daily basis. I, personally, have been fortunate enough to have not been forced to go through a war. Having grown up in Europe, signs of WWII were abundant everywhere, especially on the coast of Belgium where I grew up. We were only a few tram stops from the Atlantic Wall, as a simple example! Nonetheless, it happened in my parents’ generation, not in mine; and somehow, it always felt like history to me. And of course, there haven’t been any recent wars in Belgium, or in Canada where I now make my home!
One of the things that kept WWII from being only a story from the pages of history was the fact that my dad fought in the war. He would sometime dress up in his army uniform and tell us stories; and somehow my crazy hero’s history lessons were a lot more fun than the dry ones at school!
You see, my dad was incredibly proud of his army past. He had been quick to sign up when war was declared with Germany, and he had done everything in his power to protect his country. Unfortunately, Belgium was quickly overtaken by the Nazis, and very early on in the war, my dad was faced with a huge dilemma: Either he would continue to serve in the army, but under German orders instead of Belgian ones, or he would have to avoid the Nazi army recruiters at whatever the cost…
Although my dad was a prankster, he was also fiercely loyal to his country and to the cause of the allied forces. There was no way in the world he would serve under the Nazis, and as a result, he kept a rope in his upstairs bedroom. If ever the army recruiters came knocking at the door, he would slide down the rope and run and hide. This tactic may not have worked for many, including my dad’s brothers; but it worked for my crazy hero.
He didn’t just live out the remainder of the war in hiding, however. Rather, he took every opportunity, no matter how small, to further the cause of the Allied forces and to thwart the Nazi war plans. My dad was so proud the day that Belgium was liberated. The first army tank that rolled into Ostend, which was where he lived, had my dad sitting on top of it! And from that moment until the day he died, he never ceased to sing the praises of the Americans. In fact, he became good friends with one of the American soldiers on that first tank. They corresponded regularly until my father’s death, and we even went to visit them one time in New York city.
When I think about my dad and his fierce loyalty to the freedom of his country, I am proud of him. He may have been done some crazy things (See “My Crazy Hero, Parts 1,2!”) that I would do best to not try and imitate, but when I think about his devotion to his country, I can’t help but feel very proud of him. He was truly my hero — albeit sometimes my crazy one!
You see, loyalty is commendable. It is one of the many attributes of God that draw us to Him: “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” (Hebrews 10:23 NIV). God also calls us to be loyal … to Him! “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart” (Prov. 3:3 NIV). In fact, loyalty is so valued by God that it is listed amidst the fruit of the spirit: Love, joy, peace, faithfulness, kindness, goodness and self-control ( See Galatians 5:22 )!
We have all noticed that it is easy to pledge loyalty to a winning cause; but it becomes a bit harder when that cause is no longer winning. However, just like my dad remained fiercely loyal to Belgium despite the potential consequences, we are also to pledge our loyalty to God and to Him alone. We can’t let anything deter us from this goal.
No matter where you find yourself, no matter how unpopular it might be to proclaim Christianity, Remember: God is ever loyal, and He asks us to be the same! He will reward your loyalty, even if it comes with a heavy price!
In His love,
Director, Answer2prayer Ministries
(To access the entire “My Crazy Hero” devotional series, please click here.)