From God’s Perspective

  September 11: Enemies have just attacked the country's largest city by air. Thousands of civilians are killed; landmark buildings are reduced to rubble -- the objective: terrorize the nation.   No, I'm not talking about New York City six months ago. I'm talking about the attacks that occurred sixty-two years ago, when German aircraft bombed London. On September 11, 1940, Winston Churchill broadcast one of his most inspiring speeches to the British people -- a speech that demonstrated the qualities of a great leader.   Churchill did not minimize the danger; he told his listeners that nothing less than civilization was at stake. But he reassured the British people that they were up to the challenge. Hitler, Churchill said, "hopes, by killing large numbers of civilians, that he will terrorize and cow the people of this mighty imperial city . . . Little does he know of the spirit of the British nation, or the tough fiber of the Londoners."   The speech galvanized the British people. Just days later, the British got the upper hand, winning the Battle of Britain.   In Churchill's response to Hitler's terror bombing, we see the most crucial elements of leadership -- of how a great leader responds to a crisis. Churchill saw beyond the explosions and rubble. Churchill had a vision of what British resolve could do, and he confidently communicated that to the people.   Every Christian ought to examine and understand this quality of visionary leadership, not because we're going to lead a nation into war, but because as ministers -- and that's what every Christian is -- we have leadership roles at home, at work, in our churches, and in our communities. So every one of us needs the skills required to inspire and motivate others.   Where do we find the best examples of this kind of visionary leadership? -- in the Bible.   When the king of Aram was at war with Israel, he ordered his men to capture Elisha because he thought Elisha knew his every move.   One morning, Elisha's servant awoke to see an army of horses and chariots surrounding the city. In panic, he exclaimed, "Oh, my lord, what shall we do?"   But Elisha responded calmly: "Do not be afraid. Those who are with us are more than those who are with them." Elisha could see what the servant could not see: Chariots of fire -- God's army surrounding the army that surrounded the city. And they far outnumbered the Arameans.   The most critical element of leadership for a Christian is this ability to see things from God's perspective and then, with that assurance, lift the sights of others. Being able to see as God sees gives us a quiet confidence because we know God is sovereign.   It was visionary leadership that made Churchill great. I believe it's the same greatness we're seeing in George Bush, as well, as he lifts the nation's confidence.   On this, the six-month anniversary of the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history, take a quiet moment to pray for wisdom for our own leaders -- both those in Washington and those on the front lines. As they continue waging the war on terror, pray that they will seek to view events and their actions from God's perspective.   And, as Winston Churchill said on September 11, sixty-two years ago, "Let God defend the Right."         For more information:   James C. Humes, Eisenhower and Churchill: The Partnership That Saved the World (Forum, 2001).   Visit the website for the Churchill Archives Center at Churchill College, Cambridge, UK, here.   "Winston Churchill home page"   Charles Colson, "When Night Fell On a Different World: How Now Shall We Live?"   "The Dark Hour of Our Nation's Soul," special BreakPoint radio broadcast with Chuck Colson and BreakPoint editor Jim Tonkowich.   "A Fact Sheet on Just War Theory," 3 December 2001.   Michael Novak, On Two Wings: Humble Faith and Common Sense at the American Founding (Encounter, 2002).  


Chuck Colson



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