But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.
There are these things called grace notes. In music, they are these small notes which seem of minor importance but can affect a piece in a specific way. In a similar way, there are these grace notes in life that don’t seem to be of primary importance in one’s life but show the presence of God in the events of that person’s life.
One example I think of is the life of Jacob DeShazer. You probably have not heard of him. He was a sergeant in the Army Air Corps in World War II. He was one of the Doolittle Raiders who attacked Japan in April of 1942. Unfortunately, the plane he was in was shot down. He was captured by the Japanese in China and spent the rest of the war as a POW in China.
While he was a POW, he read a Bible given to him by one of the guards.
After the war, he became a missionary and returned to the city his plane bombed in Japan and started a church. He spent most of his remaining life as a missionary in Japan, returning to his home state of Oregon near the end of his life where he died in 2008 at the age of 95.
Here’s where it gets interesting. While DeShazer was a missionary in Japan, he handed a pamphlet to a many by the name of Mitsuo Fuchida. Those of you familiar with the attack on Pearl Harbor in December of 1941 will recognize Fuchida as the pilot who led the attack on Pearl Harbor. Fuchida is credited as the person who spoke the code words “Tora! Tora! Tora!” (To! To! To!) to signify the attack had gained surprise.
DeShazer giving Fuchida that pamphlet resulted in Fuchida spending most of his remaining life in the United States as a missionary.
These small little ‘coincidences’ are ‘grace notes’ resulting in significant changes in the lives of these individuals.
Today, June 14, my wife, Nancy, and I celebrate 39 years of marriage. We met at a mixer in college in Irvine, California. I was from Point Hueneme, California and Nancy was from Eltopia, Washington. We discovered our parents were originally from the same town in Nebraska. Later we discovered our grandfathers actually knew each other. We began dating a few months later and the rest, as they say, is history.
Another small coincidence, another grace note.
What are the grace notes in your life?
Peace Lutheran Church
Mill Valley, California