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Under Siege

June 1, 2015

On June 6, 1944 the Allied forces began the most extensive and most immpressive campaign up to that point of World War II. Operation Overlord was an ambitious, costly plan to secure a beachhead on mainland Europe. Germany had driven the Allied forces all the way to the Atlantic and stranded them on the island of Great Britain. For the war to be won, a beach head had to be established to give a foothold from which to push the enemy back. One preliminary estimate predict a casualty rate of 80% for the 101st Airborne Division, which would parachute in behind enemy lines. Soldiers landing on the beaches were tasked with assaulting long held and well fortified bunkers all along the coast of Normandy. The brave men had to fight across mined and pre-targeted beaches, open to all manner of enemy assault. When the day was ended and Normandy secured, the war was won. Though the battles would rage for another year and the Allieds suffered some tragic setbacks, the war was won the day Normandy was wrested from German control.

In the winter of that same year, the United States Army had pushed deep into German territory. A surprise German assault left portions of the Army surrounded and cut off from the rest of the Allied forces, with only a little neck of land offering a safe retreat back. In the woods around the town of Bastogne, the 101st airborn told to hold the line. The most famous battle for the Ardennes would take place in those woods. The men of the 101st found themselves under a horrible siege. Many men died before Patton’s Third Army brought much needed relief. From that day forward, the German’s were pushed steadily back and the war in Europe was soon brought to a conclusion.

Just like those men in the Battle of the Bulge, Christians are soldiers under seige in a war that has already been won. Just like those soldiers, the Christian’s hope is in the coming Conqueror. Some decry this hope as a reckless escapism. It is not escapism to look forward to rescue. It is not folly and weakness to long for the day when the rightful ruler will step in and overthrow the oppressor. It is not a form of mental illness to look forward to a time when the battle will be over and the beleaguered soldier will finally be welcomed home. It is cowardice to cower in the foxholes of church and friends instead of doing good to those who hate you and taking the gospel to the enemy. It is cowardice to live ashamed of Christ. It is a form of insanity to deny the battle raging all around because rescue is expected at any moment. Rescue will come, but until then the battle must be fought. It is delusional to claim to be a soldier of Christ and refuse to obey His orders, serve His servants and further His kingdom. It is treason to find the things of the enemy lovely and the eternal Master and His kingdom to be shameful. The Christian longs for escape, not from a pleasant reality but from war. The Christian longs to be rescued from this body of death to be welcomed home to eternal rest in the arms of his family.

The great comfort for the Christian in all times of difficult is that Jesus is returning. These present times of difficulties should cause all believers to look ahead with longing for the return of the King. These days of sorrow should drive the Christian’s eyes upward to say with John in the worship filled voice of great anticipation longing, “Even so come Lord Jesus.”

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