We’re living in terrifying times. Fear grasps our throats and we choke on it. We’re slowly and cleverly being devoured by evil. It’s a problem old as time.
In my lifetime alone, I’ve experienced the fear of invasion from foreign governments created by the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. Again, as I attended elementary school, I remember practice air raid drills, where we’d be ushered to the basement and told to sit and cover our heads. As time went by, there was the Korean War, Bay of Pigs invasion, the Cold War, Viet Nam, Persian Gulf, Afghanistan.
We’ll never escape evil on this planet. However, if we let that fear rule our hearts, our enemies have already achieved their goal. Thus it was when Pearl Harbor was attacked on this day in 1941. No one expected it. No one was prepared. No one forgot. It was a day that continues to haunt us as a nation.
My parents were thinking about the child that would be born in six months. I was safely nestled in my mother’s womb. The United States had resisted entering World War II, but the events of that day, meant we could no longer be uninvolved. Japan sent waves and waves of planes across the Islands of Hawaii, bombed the American ships in Pearl Harbor and Kamikaze pilots plunged into the sea, destroying themselves along with unsuspecting sailors.
Because information couldn’t be transmitted with speed – no CNN – no internet – difficult communication on all levels; it took a while before all the details were sorted out and the news reached President Roosevelt. Our nation was devastated. Our navy crushed. 2,403 dead and 1,176 wounded. Our resolve was to “Remember Pearl Harbor” as involvement in this war was inevitable.
The next day was my mother’s 20th birthday, but there was no celebration. The same kind of fear penetrated the souls across our land. My parents continued their lives as usual, but this interruption in their journey would forever live in their hearts and minds. My dad was unable to serve, but because he didn’t want to. Young men across our country immediately enlisted to fight against this horrific event.
Unprepared – unsuspecting – thinking we’re beyond something like this ever happening again, our country was attacked 60 years later. Why weren’t we prepared? Being unprepared leaves us wide open for vulnerability. We can never be ready enough. The same is true on a spiritual level.
This is the season of preparation and repentance – a time to lay all our sins on the table and turn them over to the Savior. We must be watchful, diligent and prepared in all areas of our lives – especially when it comes to eternity. Our souls are at stake.