Who has said to you that it cannot be done? Who has said that the Lord cannot heal you? Who has said that the pandemic cannot be eliminated? Has anyone told you that you cannot overcome? Has anyone told you that you cannot change? Remember the promises of God’s Word.
Hebrews 13:6 says, “The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me? Stay away from the love of money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, I will never fail you. I will never forsake you.“
This passage in Hebrews 13 reminds us that we are assured that God is in the battle with us. God wants us to move to a place where we have genuine confidence in what the Lord will do in our lives. As we live “in Christ,” we will see consistent victory over the enemies of our souls.
Today, as I am writing this devotional, it is Pearl Harbor Day. Have you seen the movie Pearl Harbor, which blends history and lots of Hollywood fiction, about the Japanese attack on Hawaii’s Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941?
In the movie following the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt (played by Jon Voight) is seated in his wheelchair, gathers his cabinet in the War Room of the White House. He is desperate for answers on how the U.S. can strike back. He speaks to the gathered advisors: “Gentlemen, we’re on the ropes, and that’s why we must strike back now. I’m talking about hitting the heart of Japan the way they have hit us.”
In the movie, the head of the Army counters his chief executive, “Mr. President, Pearl Harbor caught us unawares. We didn’t face the facts, and this isn’t a time for ignoring them again. The Army Air Corps has long-range bombers but no place to launch them. Midway is too far, and Russia won’t allow us to launch a raid from there.”
The president is disappointed and frustrated that his key advisors are unwilling to take risks. President Roosevelt looks over their faces and then says:
“Gentlemen, most of you did not know me when I had the use of my legs. I was young and proud and arrogant. Now I wonder every hour of my life why God put me in this chair. But when I see defeat in the eyes of my countrymen in your eyes right now, I start to think that maybe he brought me down for times like these when we all need to be reminded who we are, that we will not give up or give in.”
There is a dramatic moment in the moving as a decorated general speaks up. “Mr. President, with all due respect, what you’re asking can’t be done.”
Roosevelt stares back in defiance and, without saying a word struggles to pull himself with his braced legs out of his wheelchair. He pushes aside the aide, who attempts to help him. At last, exhausted, he stands, looks at his advisors, and declares, “Do not tell me it can’t be done!“
I love that moment in the movie that is more fiction than history. But history does record what Roosevelt did to challenge the existing paradigms of his military leaders. He wanted them to be innovative and think out of the box.
It took the assistant chief of staff for anti-submarine warfare to do so, an individual you would not necessarily expect to come up with a solution to this challenge. He proposed that B-25 bombers carrying extra fuel be launched off an aircraft carrier that would sail within a distant range of Tokyo, reducing risk to the carrier. After launch, the carrier would turn back, and after the bombing run, the planes would fly to China and land there.
The bombers had only 467 feet of deck to launch off the carrier USS Hornet, which had never been done before. The planes had to be stripped of everything that was not critical to the mission to reduce their weight, including defensive guns. This bombing mission over Tokyo is known in history as the Doolittle Raid, named for Army Air Corps Lieutenant Colonel Jimmy Doolittle, trained the pilots and led the bombing mission. Even though the bombing mission did little damage to Japan’s military capability, it showed the Japanese that they could be reached American bombers.
It has been my experience that when “something SEEMINGLY can’t be done,” there is usually a God-given path forward that, once uncovered, can achieve the desired result. We may need some out-of-the-box thinking, risk-taking, and collaboration with others.
God has called us into His mission field that is local and worldwide. Is it possible we may have been inattentive to the call of the Lord? Have you backed away from the call of the Lord in your life? I believe that we are standing on the threshold of promise amid this pandemic.
As we look over the land of our promise, what will we report?
Numbers 13:26-33 says, “They brought back word to them and to all the congregation and showed them the fruit of the land. Then they told him and said: We went to the land where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. Nevertheless, the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large.
“Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it. But the men who had gone up with him said, we are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we. And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. There we saw the giants and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”
This sounds like some of us as we report what we see related to the pandemic, politics, economics, crime, morality issues in our land. But God has promised: “I will not leave you nor forsake you.”
The promises and blessings of God are not going to fall into our hands like overripe fruit; they are seized from an enemy as we partner with God.
Joshua 1:5, “No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you.” One of the reasons Joshua declared this statement was that it was from the Spirit of God, supported by his personal experience recorded for us in Numbers chapters 12-14.
Don’t tell me it cannot be done!