Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor on this day in 1941 pulled the United States into World War II. Many would say this day 75 years ago was one of the darkest in our civilization.
Today, we can remember the incredible evil that was then in our world, and perhaps still is. It’s a day to remember World War II and the Greatest Generation of Americans. We cannot reflect on any of this without first remembering that World War II was perhaps one of the noblest stands against evil. The men and women who fought on the front lines and behind the lines battled to ensure that evil would not then or ever prevail against America.
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1 Timothy 1:14-17 tells us: “The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners — of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display His immense patience as an example for those who would believe in Him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen” (NIV).
You see, God is always faithful and is always good. His ways are mysterious to us, but they are also beyond any prediction we could ever imagine. Yet in the middle of all of that, His ways are also amazingly gracious.
Just one story that comes out of this horrific day 75 years ago is about a man who led the surprise Japanese air attack on Pearl Harbor. His name was Mitsuo Fuchida, and he grew up loving his country of Japan and hating the United States. He went on to attend the Japanese military academy and joined Japan’s naval air force. By 1941, Fuchida had established himself as the nation’s greatest pilot.
As Fuchida finished the attack on the island of Oahu west of Honolulu, it was his voice that could be heard, yelling the message of “Tora! Tora! Tora!” (“Tiger! Tiger! Tiger!”) to his aircraft carrier — indicating success. Out of the 70 Japanese officers who participated in the attack that day, he was the only one who survived.
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On Aug. 6, 1945, when the atomic bomb fell on Hiroshima, there was an American POW by the name of Jacob DeShazer who had become a Christian while imprisoned in the Japanese camp, where he had been held since 1942. On the morning the bomb was dropped, DeShazer felt moved to pray for peace. Soon after, he was liberated — and in 1948, DeShazer returned to Japan as a missionary.
Many years after his attack on Pearl Harbor, Fuchida read Jacob DeShazer’s testimony, bought a Bible, and gave his life to Christ.
In 1950, history collided when these two men met. DeShazer welcomed Fuchida and encouraged him to be baptized. He then became an evangelist, spreading the message of Christianity, peace, and forgiveness throughout Japan and other Asian communities.
Between the two men — with DeShazer planting churches throughout Japan and with the evangelistic efforts of his brother in Christ, Fuchida, evangelizing and spreading the message of Christianity — we can only guess how many thousands of men and women were saved for the cause of Christ.
God is always faithful and He is always good. Perhaps this is just one small example of the work and sacrifice of those who fought to push back evil and preserve our freedom that is America.
I hope we will all remember this today as we think about the greatest generation of Americans borne out of this tragedy 75 years ago. God is King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, in honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
Dan Celia is President and CEO of Financial Issues Stewardship Ministries Inc., and host of the nationally syndicated radio and television program “Financial Issues,” heard daily on more than 600 stations across the country and reaching millions of households on the National Religious Broadcasters Network, BizTV, and Dove-TV. To learn more, visit www.financialissues.org.