17 March 2010

Two Letters

Dwight Eisenhower was the Supreme Allied Commander in charge of all of the Allied Forces in Europe during WWII.  During the final preparations for the invasion of Europe, Operation Overlord, he penned two letters, intending that one or the other would be distributed after the first day of the invasion.  One letter was an anouncement of the success of the invasion, how our troops were fighting hard and winning a foothold against Hitler in Europe.

The other letter was an anouncement of failure.  The invasion failed, and what survivors are left are returning to England to regroup for a later date.

Eisenhower didn't have to use the second note.  We know that the invasion was ultimately a success, and that the Allied Powers prevailed against Hitler's evil.

But Eisenhower didn't know that.

In fact, even at the end of June 6, 1944, the outcome was still up in the air.  The British and American paratroopers were far from coherent fighting forces behind enemy lines, and none of the five beachheads were as large or as secure as they were supposed to be at that time.

Even at the end of that Day of Days, the Allied leaders were still preparing for a counter attack that would throw our forces back into the English Channel.

The outcome was far from certain.

As Christians, we live with a similar tension.  Eisenhower no doubt believed that the Allies would ultimately prevail, but the success of Operation Overlord still was to be decided.

Likewise, we know that the final fate of the world is to be reconciled and be made good again through Christ.  But we do not know, from day to day, what progress will be made, and what setbacks we will encounter.
We must press on, fully realizing our victory through Christ, while at the same time fully realizing that we're not quite there yet.

This is why, in Philippians 2, Paul writes that we must continue to work out our salvation with fear and trembling.  We cannot simply sit back on the work of Jesus on the Cross, and wait for Him to complete His work.

His work is done, and it is up to us now to put it into action.

This is why the "faith vs works" argument is so misleading.  When we put forth one or the other, it is always at the expense of the opposing side.  But faith and works were never meant to be seperated.  When we read James 2 we are reminded of this as well.

Because when our "invasion" is over, which letter do we want read?

Do we want success?  Or do we accept failure?


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