74 years since the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Since the Japanese empire became so desperate they made a futile stab at the west to provoke us into war. Since an array of Navy personnel blindly rejected the approaching armada as a mistake of the radar. Since Nagumo blessedly aborted a third wave which, in addition to heaping thousands more onto an already 2500-person casualty list between both countries, would have ended any US ability to operate in the Pacific. Since 2400 US soldiers lost their lives, most before they were even fully awake from the jolted nightmare alarm. I first studied that terrible day when the anniversary number was in the 40s; it affects my heart no less today than it did then, despite having learned a great deal more about it.
It doesn’t matter that I wasn’t born until almost 40 years later; some pains are generational. Isn’t that always the way with tragedy? It doesn’t matter how far you are from it in time or space… the ache in the wound is the same. That’s what makes it so easy to make monument to it, to consume yourself with the worship of that pain and anguish. To feed the lie Satan wants you to believe: that we are bred to live here in anguish and pointless ruin in a random world bereft of control.
For decades of my life I agreed with that sentiment. I viewed that day in Pearl Harbor from an intellectual high ground where it showed how abject suffering can be. But I have learned better. I have learned to see God. I see where that attack was exactly as severe as necessary to provoke us to war, and no more. I see where it cost lives to save countless more. I see the courage and honor on both sides of the conflict as the best in us, the Love from God in us, won out in the form of cooperation and mercy. I see where we were trying to destroy ourselves and He reached out to stem the flood of chaos. I see clearly the stage He set and the mercy He showed.
This is the battle, my brothers and sisters: where does your soul sympathize? Do you ally to the Light, give your heart to Christ and the working of ultimate Love, or do you turn away and listen to the voice of doom that’s so desperate to propagate an ideology of anarchy and nihilism? Do you consume yourself with the need for blame and explanation or do you free yourself of that control and chase after the fullness of heart and soul that mercy and Love bring?
In the end your heart will see Truth and fall before the crushing intensity of His Love for you and your Love for Him. There is no chance to deny His reality, and your belief of that isn’t prerequisite of its truth. What determines your fate in eternity is your view of this world, this time, right now. Do you seek the shadow in every space or do you revel in the light?
Look, no one can ever say that I am an optimist, nor am I advocating for that kind of blindness. But I stand here, in defiance of evil and a lifetime of serving darkness, to tell you that since seeing Him first I cannot unsee Him. I serve Him because I saw no other sensible option. I’m not in alignment with Him fully; no human being can be. But since starting down this stumbling path after Him I have been raised up by every measure possible. He has shown me more every day than I learned in the whole 30 years before knowing Him. I am proof that Grace wins. That I am drawing breath today is proof of Him.
I do not believe in God, I KNOW Him. I do not believe YOU don’t see Him. I’m not asking you to come to Christ. I’m not asking you to pick up a Bible. I’m simply asking you to sit in a quiet room and ask yourself, honestly and without pretense: do you really believe that God doesn’t exist or that you can’t see Him? Do you truly stare at this world and see chaos or do you see the force of Love weave in and through it all? Is it maybe possible that you see Him, but have been made afraid to speak Him for fear that you’ll suffer pain or embarrassment for it? I don’t even want you to express it to anyone. I just want you to take an honest assessment in private. Because I know — I. KNOW. — what the result will be. You are my friends because I Love you, so it could not be otherwise.