Scheduled for December 7
has been called “a day of infamy.” It has been called “the greatest
military disaster in American history.” Books have been written to tell
how it happened, or show how it should have been prevented. Movies show it
seldom we see it as what it really was: a tremendous victory for the cause of
freedom. Almost no one saw it as such at the time -- almost no one. Let me
share with you two voices who saw it a little differently, on opposite sides of
the war and the globe.
first is a man born and bred for war: Winston S. Churchill. Here is his
“... So we had won after all! Yes,
after Dunkirk; after the fall of France; after the horrible episode of Oran;
after the threat of invasion, when, apart from the Air and the Navy, we were an
almost unarmed people; after the deadly struggle of the U-boat war -- the
first Battle of the Atlantic, gained by a hand’s-breadth; after seventeen
months of lonely fighting and nineteen months of my responsibility in dire
stress, we had won the war. ... How long the war would last or in what fashion
it would end, no man could tell, nor did I at this moment care. Once again in
our long Island history we should emerge, however mauled or mutilated, safe and
victorious. We should not be wiped out. Our history would not come to an
end. We might not even have to die as individuals. Hitler’s fate was sealed.
Mussolini’s fate was sealed. As for the Japanese, they would be ground to
powder. All the rest was merely the proper application of overwhelming force.”
the other side of the globe, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, commander of the
Imperial Japanese Fleet, learned that Japanese emissaries in Washington had not
presented the United States with the planned declaration of war before the
attack. On learning this, he refused to join his officers in a victory
celebration. He told them:
“You do not understand. We have awakened the
sleeping giant, and filled him with a terrible resolve.”
must things have looked to the Sanhedrin on the Saturday night before Easter
Sunday? Perhaps they looked then as things look now to the world: “We’ve
heard the last of this Jesus; he’s dead, he’s buried, he’s gone.” Then
came the dawn.
do not understand God’s victories. He tells us that if we would save our
lives, we must lose them. The power of paradox runs through the Gospel, and
nowhere greater than this: our salvation was purchased with His death; our
resurrection guaranteed by His sacrifice.
we just don’t know good news when we hear it.