Day 123: Be blessed
In December 1943, German fighter pilot Franz Stigler was in pursuit of American bomber pilot Charlie Brown’s plane, looking to shoot it down. If he did, it would earn him the Knight’s Cross, the highest honour for a German soldier. But as he approached the plane, Stigler saw that it had no tail guns blinking, no tail-gun compartment remaining, no left stabilizer, and the nose of the aircraft was missing. Surprisingly, he could also see into the plane, the skin of it having been blown off. Inside, he observed terrified young men tending to their wounded. Stigler saluted Brown and veered away. His last words to him were, “Good luck, you’re in God’s hands now.”
Brown was able to land the plane in England. He continued his Air Force career for two decades, but remained obsessed with the incident. In 1990, he took out an ad in a newsletter for fighter pilots, looking for the one “who saved my life on Dec. 20, 1943.” Stigler, living in Vancouver, saw the ad and yelled to his wife: “This is him! This is the one I didn’t shoot down!” He immediately wrote a letter to Brown, and the two then connected in an emotional phone call.
Stigler and Brown both died in 2008, six months apart. The article in the New York Post also noted that both men were Christians and that the obituaries for Stigler and Brown both listed the other friend as “a special brother.”
This is mercy.
Choosing not to consider the merit of the person who is receiving the love.
People around you today “have been kicked around long enough …kicked in the teeth by complacent rich men … kicked when down by arrogant brutes” v3-4 Message.
But what is in your hand? What is in the hand of the slave master, the mistress, the leader? V2.
Just as we watch and wait for the mercy of God (v2) so there are others looking to you for mercy today.
The blessed do not ignore their situation.