“Blessed are the Meek”


In Matthew 5:5 we read: “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth (NIV).” During the Indo-China Conflict (Vietnam War), many “high value” POWs were sent to the Hanoi Hilton and nearby “Plantation.” Several tell of captive pilots comparing their exploits with tales of High and Fast.  How high were you and how fast were you going when you ejected?

However, one of the most remarkable inmates of the Hanoi POW complexes was not an aviator, but a teenaged Seaman Apprentice.  Doug Hegdahl was not shot down in a super-sonic fighter craft, but was rather knocked overboard from USS CANBERRA.  His was not a High and Fast, but a Low and Slow.

This country boy from the Midwest, was “rescued” by a Cambodian fisherman, and turned over to the Vietnamese militia.  They in turn refused to believe the details of his tale.  He was tortured and sent to the Plantation.  It soon became clear that he was what he said, and he helped them along by exaggerating his accent, and pretending to be illiterate.

His captures soon dubbed him “The Incredibly Stupid One.”  In his humility, he was soon allowed to have fairly free run of the complex, and used his access to learn the names and stories of of over 250 fellow captives.  He remembered these by humming them to the tune of Old MacDonald’s Farm (this adding to his captors’ view of him).

Being of “little value,”and low rank, his captures put him forward for release as a “good will” gesture as the Paris Peace Accords began.  Little did they know, that this meek “stupid” one would hold the key to the identity and eventual repatriation of his fellows.

We often question our place and value in this world.  But two things should stand out for us in that regard: 1. Jesus said the meek and humble will inherit the earth (we are important), and 2. We were valuable enough for Him, that He gave His life for us! We are, like Hegdahl, far from low value and rank, we are the redeemed of God!


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