June 4, 1942. The bulk of the American fleet lay rusting at the bottom of Pearl Harbor. America was on the ropes, and Admiral Yamamoto was winding up for the knockout punch at Midway Island.
At 7:30 AM, the Japanese strike force roared over the island. Of the 25 American fighters that took to the skies 17 were shot down. It was the worst single Marine air defeat of the war. Meanwhile thirty-three U.S. airplanes from the Midway base were attempting to attack the Japanese fleet. Every single airplane was shot down.
200 miles to the north, 67 dive-bombers, 29 torpedo-bombers and 20 fighters were trying to get organized above the American aircraft carriers. After several hours in the air, they couldn’t locate the Japanese fleet. Running out of fuel, the dive-bombers returned to their aircraft carriers and the fighters crash-landed in the sea.
15 of the torpedo bombers found the Japanese fleet. With extraordinary courage but no fighter protection, they attacked. Only one U.S. pilot, Ensign George Gay, survived the raid. A few minutes later 14 unescorted torpedo planes made their run. Only four of those planes survived. Then 12 more torpedo bombers arrived.
After two hours of fighting, America lost 74 planes and 80 crewmen without a single hit on the enemy’s ships. But those brave airmen kept coming. They were buying precious time with their lives.
Just as the Japanese were preparing a counter strike against the US fleet, 15 American Dauntless Dive-bombers screeched down from high altitude.
10 minutes later, the tide of WWII had turned.
What pushed those men to fly into certain death? Our freedom was secured through their blood.
When I read the New Testament, I see that a same attitude in the church of the first century. Men like James and Steven, Paul, Peter and John were beaten, battered, tortured and killed. Our faith was secured through their blood. We must follow their example.
Jesus said this,
“For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.“ (Matthew 16:25)
Dietrich Bonhoffer interpreted those words, “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.”
That’s the good news, now go have a great day.