June 6, 1944 was a terrible, and costly, Allied invasion on the coast of France, with over 9,000 casualties. Despite the cost, it is considered the beginning of the end, the turning point of World War II. Many battles followed, with each Allied Forces win pushing back the invader of French soil and liberating the towns and villages along the route. So significant is the progressive enemy retreat that there is found, in most, if not all towns and villages across the north of France, a main road renamed for the date of their newly-gained freedom (i.e. Rue, du 10 Octobre, 1944). It wasn’t until eleven months later, on the 8th of May 1945, that victory was finally declared, ending the war in Europe.
With Holy Week just a couple of days in the rear-view mirror, we are still reverberating with the ignominy of its unthinkably evil events. Though needful for the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy, the cataclysmic death of Jesus was pivotal for the liberation of mankind from imprisonment to sin and the grave. You could say (if you’ll permit me such a feeble comparison), Holy Friday is the D-Day of the human race and Resurrection Sunday is its May 8, 1945. Of course, both of the latter involved long and torturous journeys to fully repair and restore what previously had been mangled and destroyed. Some cities were almost completely unrecognizable as a result of the fighting, the use of the weapons of war. So, too, many lives were all but ruined by the combination of their old nature and the insidious attacks of Satan. Clearing away the mountains of debris throughout Europe and then rebuilding has taken decades. Lifting off from wearied souls the weight of many injurious years can take, similarly, as much time.
For those, today, grateful for the promises of Jesus, for this new, adoptive life, this eternal life, this life of Jesus that we get to live totally and freely free, the reality is that living into all that is offered us in Jesus is a big stretch, a ‘beyond all that we can ask or think’ truth. In short, for us all it demands that we launch out on a journey. And this is precisely where we find ourselves, on a journey, a journey of learning, of discipleship. Again, we’re reminded of the Now and the Not Yet, of the dash between 6/6/44 and 5/8/45. Victory is ours but there are spiritual battles to fight to claim the ground that has been won for us. We can but receive in total humility all that which was required to redeem us. Likewise, we can but be grateful for the example set before us, for all that was demanded of so many to bring us safely through to the end. Knowing there is a journey isn’t enough. Even believing there is a journey is not enough. Stepping out in faith on this path of discipleship means taking a close look in our ‘mirror’ and asking Jesus the all-important question: “What is my next challenge, my next lesson, my next step of faith, my next trial in which to learn fuller trust?” And guess what? We don’t do the slogging on our own! “ . . I’m fully convinced that the One who began this gracious work in you will faithfully continue the process of maturing you until the unveiling of our Lord Jesus Christ!” Philippians 1:6, TPT. PD