It reminded me of a moment in the movie, Pearl Harbor. When Lt. Colonel James Doolittle is observing Ben Affleck and Josh Hartnett’s characters, and the other brave men who volunteered to try and do the impossible: Successfully launch bombers from the deck of the aircraft carrier, USS Hornet, make the flight to Japan without enemy detection, and execute a bombing raid on Tokyo itself.
Against the back-drop of their bravery, under the shadow of perhaps the greatest military tragedy our nation had ever faced, staring into the face of the towering threat of Imperial Japan, and undoubtedly awash in the temptation to doubt, Doolittle experienced something on the deck that day that gave him hope: “We’re going to win this war, Jack. And you know why?” he asked his fellow officer. “Because of them [the bomber pilots]. Because they’re rare. Because at times like these you see them – stepping forward. There’s nothing greater than the heart of a volunteer.”
Doolittle’s Raiders weren’t going to singlehandedly win the war. Militarily, the impact of their effort was infinitesimal. Spiritually, however, they put into action, the faith of then president, Franklin D. Roosevelt: “No matter how long it may take us to overcome this pre-meditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.”
Today, under the shadow of another terrible tragedy, staring into the towering threat of economic uncertainty, tempted to doubt, I watched a new crop of volunteers step forward and found my own faith lifted by the greatness of their hearts.
“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”