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The Realities of War

The realities of war are horrific. During WWII in the Pacific, thousands of airmen vanished. Some during combat missions. Others on routine flights. Many were swallowed by the ocean, while others were alive, but lost on the sea or islands. But of all the horrors these men faced, the one outcome they feared the most was capture by the Japanese.

In the Pacific theater, Japan brought atrocity and death on a scale that staggers the imagination. Caught in the middle were the prisoners of war (POWs). The Japanese murdered thousands of POWs on death marches while others were worked to death. And left out of the numbing statistics are untold numbers who were captured and killed on the spot or dragged to POW camps to be murdered without the world ever knowing their fate.

Florence Nightingale once said:

“What the horrors of war are, no one can imagine. They are not wounds and blood and fever, spotted and low, or dysentery, chronic and acute, cold and heat and famine. They are intoxication, drunken brutality, demoralization and disorder on the part of the inferior... jealousies, meanness, indifference, selfish brutality on the part of the superior.”

So how were some able to endure? For those who survived, the only thing that kept their sanity and resolution was the hope of someday going home and seeing their loved ones. And since the Japanese frequently stole personal items and photos and refused to give them letters from home, all they had were their memories.

War is indeed horrific. The brutality and atrocities committed are hard to imagine. And although many of us have never experienced firsthand the misfortunes of war, even now we must remain vigilant. For you see, we too are at war! What did Paul say to the Ephesian brethren?

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities,against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Ephesians 6.11-13

You see, we are all fighting battles. Some have been fighting intensely for quite a while. Even now some are losing the fight . . . becoming prisoners of war and being enslaved by sin. But let me remind us all, the war has already been won! The outcome of the war has already been decided!

Therefore God has also highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2.9-11

The end result has already been determined, but still we battle on. Every minute, every hour, every day of our lives. Yes, the battles are tough. The battles are long. Satan is alive and well and is trying to gain a foothold in the war for your soul. Don’t forget. The enemy does not care about you. He does not want you to survive! So the question remains. Are you going to continue to be steadfast and immovable, fixing your gaze on your heavenly home?

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the  work of the Lord knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

1 Corinthians 15.57-58

You are POWs in the enemy’s camp. Some of you may be getting weary from your battles. You may have forgotten that the war is already won. Christ is victorious! Heaven awaits you. Don’t become like those airmen who never saw the light of salvation. Who could not remain steadfast. The strong stay the course with God. Staying the course is vital. And there are many who are here to help you and offer up prayers on your behalf to the very throne of God.

You can survive. Fix your gaze on your eternal home. And know He has conquered all.