Tomorrow, decades ago, the world was holding its collective breath. The wooded region of Ardennes was soon to be left twisted and torn like that of a tornado’s rampage. While I often bypass this historical moment in leu of more pleasant Christmas thoughts, this year seemed to stall at the juncture of Winston Churchill’s declaration that this was “the greatest American battle of the War.” The six-week battle saw a suffering unlike anything we have ever seen in our modern era. Beside the 15,000 extreme cold weather injuries, over 100,000 men lay lifeless in the snow at The Battle of the Bulge.
The turning point of that battle was said to be made on Christmas Day. The ground froze over making it possible for tanks and heavy equipment to make headway. Even still, massive loss of life lay ahead for both sides. Hitler’s point in this most critical moment was to divide the Allies in their drive toward Germany. Had he accomplished his mission, military experts say that Germany would have crushed the resistance beyond recognition. Division, as we know, is the best way to stop the progress of any people. Hitler failed, though 30 German divisions attacked the battle-fatigued American troops across 85 miles of the densely wooded Ardennes Forest. He just could not divide them and the rest, as they say, is history.
Of all the tactics that the devil uses against the Body of Christ, none rise higher than simple division. In Paul’s God-inspired writing, he told the church about the necessity of a unified body. The apostle relayed the value of the whole body; each member being as important as the next. Then he wrote, 1 Corinthians 12:25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.
Experience has taught me that divisions are so damaging that few congregations survive. The enemy has easy access when we are divided. People become disillusioned, dishearten, and altogether discouraged by the division even if they are not involved. Paul asked, “Is Christ divided?” To the church in Rome he said, “Mark them that cause division.” Jesus said that a house divided cannot stand. Jude wrote, “They said to you, In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires. These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.” Jude 1:18-19
Tomorrow there will another attack in a region where the church will be challenged, because that is the design of the enemy. Still I pray that we will overcome through the bond of faith and the unity of the body.
Pastor Jeffrey Harpole