Thank You 41!

Around this time of year, I usually write Christmas articles for our church
newsletter and here at my website. However, as I sat down in my office
to write the last article of 2018, the attention of our nation was drawn to
Washington D.C. where the funeral of our 41st president, George H.W. Bush,
was taking place.

When I was old enough to vote for president, George H.W. Bush was on that ballot.
As a young TV reporter, I had the privilege of being among the media horde
when President Bush visited the Mississippi Gulf Coast for a campaign
appearance. I yelled a question at him as he walked towards Air Force One
but he couldn’t hear me over the voices of the other reporters and the
sound of the plane engines.

Years later, my family and I visited George H.W. Bush’s presidential
library. I learned so much about the man and grew to appreciate him as more
than just a president. He was a war hero, a diplomat and a patriot. But he
was also a son who loved his parents, a devoted husband, a committed father
and proud grandfather. A few months ago, we had the opportunity to tour
George W. Bush’s presidential library in Dallas, TX. One section of the
library was dedicated to the unique bond between a father and son who had
both held the highest office in the land. As I learned more about the
special relationship between these two men, I was most impressed by their
openness in affirming their devotion to God through their personal faith in
Jesus Christ. As a child, George H.W. Bush’s parents had regular Bible
study with him and the rest of his family at the breakfast table. As a
young man, he taught junior high youth in Sunday school. Unlike some
previous presidents, President Bush regularly attended worship services
during his four year term in the White House. Whether he was in Washington
D.C., back home in Houston, or at his vacation home in Kennebunkport, ME,
President Bush almost always found his way to a church for Sunday services.
As a young pilot in World War II, George H.W. Bush was shot down in the
Pacific. From that day forward, he spoke about his faith in God with a
renewed boldness. Later, George H.W. Bush endured a tragedy that could
drive many people away from God. In 1953, he and his wife Barbara lost
their three-year-old daughter Robin to leukemia. I think this event, more
than any other, reflects his faith and understanding of what it means to
trust God. Reflecting on the time between their daughter’s diagnosis and
her passing, President Bush said, “Prayer had always been an important part
of our lives, but never more so than during those six months. Barbara and I
sustained each other; but in the end, it was our faith that truly sustained
us, as gradually, but surely, Robin slipped away. To this day, like every
parent who has ever lost a child, we wonder why; yet we know that, whatever
the reason, she is in God’s loving arms.”

President Bush continued to hold on to his Christian faith through the
difficult times of Operation Desert Storm. On more than one occasion, he
reached out to Billy Graham and others for prayer and help. The media
often labeled George H.W. Bush as weak but his legacy reminds us that true
strength is found not in ourselves, but in our faith in God.

God Bless You

Bro. Joe