A day that lives in infamy: Three lessons Pearl Harbor teaches us

Today is a day we have all learned about from our history books. It’s a day that changed the course of America’s history. A day that truly has lived in infamy. For on this day 76 years ago, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor.

As we remember the thousands of men who lost their lives and think about the terrors of war, it’s not uncommon to search for some thread of hope. In the midst of the horrors of December 7, 1941, there are lessons that Pearl Harbor teaches us.

We can’t sit by and watch evil take control

After Japan attacked, the United States entered into war against them, which then resulted in Germany and Italy declaring war on the U.S. Our country didn’t simply lick her wounds, rebuild the Pacific fleet, and say, “We’ll show them next time.” That would have been foolish, dangerous and apathetic, to say the least.

No, we finally went all in on a fight to keep evil at bay. While millions of people lost their lives as a result of this war, what would our world look like today if Hitler had succeeded in his quest to kill all people he deemed unworthy of life? Or Japan had become the world power it had hoped to be?

Regardless of your viewpoints on war, God’s word is clear that we are to take a stand against the devil’s schemes. Yes, He also tells us He will fight for us, and there are times to remain quiet, but His Spirit guides us through each situation.

As James points out, if we know the good we ought to do yet don’t do it, we sin. Many times, taking a stand against evil means sacrifice. It means we may feel the pain of war. But we can’t allow the fear of earthly pain to keep us from fighting for the truth. What will our world look like if we don’t put on the armor of God and fight against Satan?

We fight not against flesh

Another lesson Pearl Harbor teaches us is that we don’t fight against flesh. That sounds backwards when talking about war, doesn’t it? Our thoughts head in the direction of seeking revenge against those who murdered our loved ones. We think about how evil Hitler was. How merciless the Japan soldiers were to their captives.

Japan and the U.S. currently have an alliance. Germany is one of our strongest allies. How did this happen when we once pointed guns and dropped bombs on the people representing these nations? By acknowledging we don’t hate the man, we hate the lie that controls him.  

We must remember we fight not against flesh and blood, but against the powers of evil. As we look in the direction of people who desire blood to spill, who perform horrific acts of violence, do we look at them as evil? Or do we see people who are believing a lie and, therefore, obeying the evil that controls them?

True, everyone has a choice as to what they will believe and how they will act on those beliefs, but we must stop hating people who do evil things and instead turn righteous anger toward the one who birthed evil. If our nation can form alliances with those who once murdered and tortured innocents, we also can realize we must fight against the evil, not the flesh.

Sometimes this will look like war against nations and people groups, but imagine how our mindset and prayer life would change if we began seeing those who obey evil as pawns used by Satan instead of evil itself. We would begin praying for their salvation, not for their demise. We would rid our minds and attitudes of prejudice and racism. And we would begin loving those we once hated.  

There is nothing new under the sun

One more lesson Pearl Harbor teaches us is how we don’t need to fear war, government or evil nations. Why? Because nothing surprises God. Nothing is new under the sun for our Heavenly Father.

While these things will no doubt bring fear upon our earthly mindset, we must remember God has seen it all. He knows how every situation on this earth will turn out, and He’s in control of it all. His purpose will prevail. And no matter what happens, He is still on His throne.

Let that truth sink into your brain, your emotions, your soul. Nothing overcomes God and forces Him off His throne. Nothing surprises Him. There has never been, nor will there ever be, an event on this earth that causes Him to say, “Shoot, I didn’t see that coming. What now?”

At the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor, it must have felt like the world was caving in on itself. Those involved and touched by this event probably felt petrified and a complete lack of control. But God has seen war. He has seen more horrific events than this attack. He didn’t fear the outcome of World War II, because He knew the ending.

Let the truth of God’s power and desire for your good bring peace to your soul as you think about what you fear in regards to our culture and world right now. There is nothing new under the sun. Nothing surprises God. He will use all things for His glory.

May these lessons Pearl Harbor teaches us encourage you and fill you with peace in the midst of a chaotic world.

Let’s Talk About It: What lesson from Pearl Harbor resonates with you the most? What has God revealed to you? 

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