It was the month of April. We were serving in the state of Mississippi. I was speaking for a Women's Conference, and we were staying over for the Sunday morning service to sing and my husband preach. As the Sunday service began we were on the platform singing and to my left my eyes fixed on a military family sitting midway back in the church. My eyes were drawn to the uniform but even more so to the countenance on the Sunday Morning Soldier’s face. It was a countenance of worship and humility to just be sitting in that pew. As we continued to sing and share the love of Jesus, he was fixed intently to every word we sang or shared.
We would share our testimony in between some of the songs, and I would share why I had written a particular song we were about to sing. I noticed tears trickling down his face. Then as songs were sung this soldier not only sat at attention in honor to His Savior but he saluted His Savior with out stretched arms of praise. He was not ashamed of His open praise and his wife and children honored him. It was such a humbling and beautiful sight to behold.
God drew me to this family to show me that this Sunday Morning Soldier wasn't there to be seen or out of obligation. God showed me his heart. He was there because he loved and depended on God for everything in life. I saw this soldier’s heart that morning. He didn't care who was around him. He was there to worship the only one who protected him as a soldier. I will never forget the blessing he was to me that morning. I couldn't get him off my heart.
After the service I went to the bus to change clothes and help prepare to move to the next service. While changing I was praying to meet this soldier and talk with him. I went to the front of the bus and someone knocked on the bus door. Yes!!! God heard and answered my prayer. There he stood at the door of the bus with a case of water for us. This Sunday morning soldier was still serving, but this time he was serving his fellow brethren in Christ rather than on the battlefield in a far away country. He shook my hand and introduced himself as Dallas Cleveland. He then apologized for being in uniform. He said that soldiers don't normally wear their attire in church because they don't want attention drawn to him or herself or the uniform. He went on to tell me he just didn't have time to change or he would have been late for the Sunday Morning service. I proceeded to tell him God used his uniform to minister to me during the service, and I was thankful he wore it. He served us with the same humility and honor as he would if he had been on a foreign field. I thanked him for the water, shook his hand again and thanked him for his service. Then God opened up a full conversation.
He has been in the military for many years and has served in many wars and on foreign soil from Afghanistan to Iraq and the list of service went on and on. I asked him if I could pray with him and add him to my prayer list. He teared up again and said, "Ma’am, I would be honored to know you were praying for me." We hugged and parted ways.
We were back at that church for 4 more services that week and he and his family were there every night and every service he sat at attention and saluted our Savior with upraised arms and tears rolling down his face. He would come to the altar with his wife each night just to pray, not for the soldiers on the battlefield but for the lost who had never received Christ as their Savior. His heart was to serve His Savior first. It was evident in both his walk and his talk. I will never forget the impact Dallas Cleveland had on me and I will never forget his love for Jesus that controlled him. I learned throughout that week that he wasn't just a Sunday Morning Soldier. I learned He was a 24/7 servant of God, family and country.
I know that Memorial Day is a day set aside to honor those soldiers who have given their lives for God and country, for the freedom that we live in today. I am forever thankful for those who have sacrificed their lives. However, if Dallas leaves this earth because of his service for our freedom or for any other reason for that matter, I know without a doubt that I will see my friend in Heaven.
May we always remember our Savior who gave His life that we could have life eternal, and may we always remember the soldiers who have given our lives that we could and can live in liberty and freedom in our country and on this earth. Most of all may we always remember to entertain angels unaware. We never know when God is going to send us an angel like Dallas Cleveland to remind us that God is to be served first and foremost.
I Just Love Jesus
Dr. Brenda J. Robinson