Total War

I have just finished reading a book entitled ‘Hunting the Nazi Bomb’.  Written by Damien Lewis, it tells ‘the riveting story of how Churchill's secret warriors waged a brutal war in the shadows, to stop Hitler from building an atom bomb’.  Riveting it certainly was; far more gripping than any work of fiction.  It recounts the amazing exploits of the Special Operations Executive in sabotaging the Vemork heavy water facility in Nazi-occupied Norway, thus hindering German scientists in their efforts to split the atom and unleash a nuclear holocaust on the world - ‘Totaler Krieg’ (Total War) as Goebbels called it.

The bravery, endurance and resourcefulness of these men was truly remarkable, as was their willingness to take part in missions which they knew could end in death, particularly after Hitler decreed that commandos were to be shot, often after torture, rather than treated as prisoners of war.  Such was indeed the treatment many of them received.  I was impressed too by the commitment which each man showed to his specific task, so that the whole team would stand or fall as brothers, each relying on, trusting, and looking out for the others.

In addition to those who undertook the mission there were, of course, many others involved in many different ways, both in Britain and in Norway.  Some played a small part, probably unaware of the significance of what was to them all in a day’s work; others paid with their lives.  But small or large, their contributions were all necessary.

We too are involved in ‘Totaler Krieg’.  We have an implacable enemy, devious and determined, whose aim is to destroy the Church of Christ.  There is one crucial difference though; we know that the victory has already been won on the Cross of Calvary and the gates of hell will not ultimately prevail.  Yet still our commitment is required, and even now our brothers and sisters in other countries are paying with their lives.  “Known unto God” is not just for the tomb of the unknown warrior!  But the Lord Jesus reminds us, ‘Do not fear little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.’  (Luke 12:32)

Just as some of the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11 are named and some are not, so some of us may have a front-line role and others may have the duty of keeping the home fires burning.  All are needed, and faithfulness is the chief requirement.  May we keep our armour in good repair and our weapons ready!

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.  For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.

                                                                                      2 Corinthians 10


Soldiers of Christ, arise,

And put your armour on;

Strong in the strength which God supplies

Through His eternal Son;

Strong in the Lord of hosts,

And in His mighty power;

Who in the strength of Jesus trusts

Is more than conqueror.


Stand, then, in His great might,

With all His strength endued;

And take, to arm you for the fight,

The panoply of God.

To keep your armour bright

Attend with constant care,

Still serving in your Captain’s sight,

And watching unto prayer.


From strength to strength go on;

Wrestle and fight and pray;

Tread all the powers of darkness down,

And win the well-fought day;

That, having all things done,

And all your conflicts past,

Ye may o’ercome through Christ alone,

And stand complete at last.


Charles Wesley