I’m a big fan of history.
I find true historical human drama more captivating than any series of fiction on the bestseller list. Oftentimes the history of the world correlates to historical spiritual truths. This is the case with D-Day, the defining day in WWII on the beaches of France. We celebrate the 75th anniversary of D-Day because of the weight of that victory on our day to day lives. Had the Allies not been able to establish a beachhead on the French beaches, we would not have been able to invade Germany, end WWII, and bring freedom to the masses.
D-Day was the largest amphibious invasion in military history. More men stormed beaches being unloaded from boats than had ever been imagined and likely will ever happen again, as warfare is increasingly turning toward smaller tactical strikes and cyberwarfare. But it isn’t the tactics of D-Day that most interest me; it is the spiritual truths which they represent.
We are in a war
The most common question and objection I get to the Christian faith is the presence of suffering. None of us like it and all of us deal with it to varying degrees. If we understand that we are in a war and not on a beach vacation, we may change our expectations for how hard life is to be. No sane French citizen inhabiting a home near the beach of Normandy during the 1940s would have quizzically asked, “Why are these bad things happening?!” They knew the answer to that question. They were in a war and they expected pain and suffering to happen.
The Bible teaches very clearly that we are currently in a war zone. God has created this planet and created us, and he has an enemy that is trying to devastate his creations. Jesus said that we had an enemy and comes to “steal, kill and destroy.” (John 10:10)
The longer we believe that we are in peacetime, the more frustrating our life will be and the more doubts we will have about God. We are in a struggle of cosmic proportions. We can choose to engage in the struggle, or sit passively and get trampled.
Be wary of beachheads
To plan for the invasion, the BBC assisted by running a competition to find the best French beach holiday photographs. They enlisted the unaware masses to gather intelligence for suitable beaches for amphibious landings. This was to be a vacation area no longer.
Within days after the invasion, troops began installing two massive temporary harbors that had taken six months to construct back in England. The Allies unloaded approximately 2,500,000 men, 500,000 vehicles, and 4,000,000 tons of supplies at these beachheads. Why was it so important to throw every resource possible at this GPS point? Because it was supposed to be the easiest place to gain traction and set up camp for the campaign ahead.
Ephesians 4:27 tells us “do not give the devil a foothold.” Once evil has a place to set up camp, more territory in our lives will be taken. There is no “innocent” or “private” sin. Each action that is something the enemy would cheer for is something that could lead to more inhabitation and take over your life.
The lag time of victory
D-day is simply a standard armed forces way of emphasising a particular day. It means this is the big one. This is THE Day. Once the beaches were taken, it was capital D doom for Hitler. The war was over and it was only a matter of time until peace was fully reigning.
Similarly, the spiritual war for our souls is over. D-Day was when Jesus rose from the dead. Yes, He had the pain of crucifixion, but his resurrection signaled that he was the conqueror. His power is made available to future people of victory. Jesus’ ministry was D-Day for the cosmos. It was the end of Satan and the beginning for all who would have spiritual freedom.
The enemy is destroyed (Hebrews 2:14-15). However he is like a chicken that has his head cut off still running around and making noise. D-Day has happened, the final die is cast.
War is a community effort
Of the 156,115 who landed in France on June 6th, the minority were American. 83,000 were British and Canadian. Of the 6,939 ships and landing vessels used, the American navy supplied less than half. Just as many Americans think that D-Day is an American holiday representing American might, so we as individuals think that everything is always about us.
This isn’t an American holiday. It is a holiday for every country who was a part of the Allies. Some in Germany may even celebrate this holiday, for though it meant their army was defeated, years of history now reveal that Hitler’s regime needed to be defeated for their own freedom.
The truth is that we need each other. Not just other people, but other people who look different from us and who come from different backgrounds. Our struggle isn’t against flesh and blood, but against spiritual entities that would do us harm as we wait for the war to officially end. (Ephesians 6:12)
Let’s be thankful for the brave men who died for us. And let’s be more thankful for the God who has died and risen for us. His was a D-Day that all of humanity in all time periods can benefit from.
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