God’s crucial role in the D-Day landings

Jun 4, 2023 by

by Peter Simpson, TCW:

TUESDAY is of course the anniversary of the commencement of the invasion of the German-occupied European mainland on June 6, 1944, namely D-Day. This highly significant event contains important lessons for us about the providence of God.

The military preparations for the D-Day landings were on an unprecedented scale, but there were the spiritual preparations as well; Army chaplains working with much fervour amongst the soldiers to prepare them for the ordeal which lay ahead of them. There were accordingly many well-attended church services in the camps before the Normandy landings began. We see, therefore, that there was an acknowledgment in high places in the Army that the outcome of the battle lay not just in military strategy, but in the spiritual condition of the troops and in the overall directing hand of the Trinitarian God.

It is worth remembering in this regard the role of SASRA, the Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Scripture Readers Association. This organisation continues today its work of Christian ministry amongst service personnel. The task of spiritual counsel and witnessing to the troops carried out by the SASRA ‘readers’ took on an ever more earnest aspect as D-Day approached. A number of those to whom the SASRA readers explained the gospel might soon be facing their Maker, having fallen on the beaches or fields of Normandy. Many of the troops of course were indifferent or even hardened to the gospel, but there were some whose consciences were becoming more sensitive, aware of the dangers ahead, and who were accordingly more open to receiving Christ’s message of salvation.

The Lord would far more likely bless the military endeavours of a nation permitting such openly Christ-centred evangelistic work amongst its ranks than one which forbade such work. It is also a Biblical principle that just a few righteous men amongst a much larger number who care nothing for God can have, in God’s providence, a mighty beneficial effect upon the whole (see Genesis 18:32). Therefore the efforts of the military chaplains and the SASRA readers cannot be lightly dismissed as having nothing to do with the final outcome of the Allied invasion.

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