For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in Whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:13-14
Even before I opened the first box, I started sneezing. Seven decades of dust is a lot to inhale. I was charged with the task of going through my Aunt Sally’s personal effects, since her son—my cousin—had recently passed away only a few years after his mother. As I sat in my cousin’s widow’s San Antonio home, I thought about how my father, Mayhue Blaine, an Army Air Corps pilot, had inspired his sister Ethel—whom everyone called “Sally”—to become a United States Army nurse in 1940. At age eleven, Sally told her one-room schoolhouse teacher that she would go to the Philippines one day. Little did she know she would do just that, stationed at Sternberg General Hospital in Manila until the Japanese invaded the islands. Soon, Sally became part of what would become known as the Angels of Bataan and Corregidor: seventy-eight Army and Navy nurses who, along with a few dozen doctors and other staff and civilians, transported hundreds of patients, some severely wounded, to a pair of “jungle” battlefield hospitals on the Bataan Peninsula. These open-air hospitals, the first of their kind since the American Civil War, kept the patients out of view of the invading Japanese troops for several months. Eventually, most were captured, many enduring a “death march” back to Manila. Aunt Sally was among those interred at Santa Thomas prisoner of war camp for nearly three years.
As I read Sally’s dusty diaries, I was struck by how many times she had mentioned their liberation in February, 1945. She recalled the unspeakable joy of the prisoners when the American boys rolled into town to set them free. My thoughts immediately went to my own “liberations,” first from the hands of a gun-wielding rapist who let me go when I cried out to God. Then, the incomparable joy that washed over me when I laid my life down at the foot of the cross of Christ, surrendering my will to that of my Lord. As humans, we endure life’s trials, great and small. Thanks be to God that He carries us through them to our eternal home with Him.
Praise You, Lord for Your longsuffering love. Amen
Meg Blaine Corrigan is the author of three books: Then I Am Strong: Moving From My Mother’s Daughter to God’s Child; Perils of a Polynesian Percussionist; and Saints With Slingshots: Daily Devotions for the Slightly Tarnished But Perpetually Forgiven Christian. She holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling from the University of New Mexico and has worked with survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and war veterans. Her books may be purchased through her website, www.MegCorrigan.com or from www.amazon.com .