From the President

Marilyn and I had the privilege this summer to lead a trip to Europe with 60 friends of Young Life. It was sort of a Young Life camp for adults. We did club almost every day, complete with music, Young Life humor and a message. But we added to that by meeting with some of our European staff who represented the work of Young Life in the Czech Republic, Poland, Portugal and Spain. Being with those committed staff was a summer highlight.
       Another highlight was the time we spent at Normandy and World War II battle sites. It was my second time there, but I was touched even more deeply than the first time I visited that hallowed and historic place. We were at the large American cemetery in the early evening when taps were played and the flag was lowered. Among those gathered around the flag pole was a U.S. Army veteran who had landed on the beach at D-Day. Private Hubbard from Massachusetts was in his late 80s, but he had been a eenager when he landed at Normandy on June 6, 1944. This was his first time back and one of the first times he shared with people like us about what it meant to be on the beach in 1944 and now again in 2011. Two truths were so evident to me:
    • The dedication and sacrifice displayed by these young people as they faced a very difficult enemy
    • The fog of war
       First, dedication and sacrifice. The men arriving on the beaches knew very quickly that they might never return home. Soldiers were dying all around them and still they moved forward. There are so many stories of courageous acts of heroism as they fought on. They were willing to suffer and die for a cause.
       Second, the fog of war — a term coined to describe how, once a battle begins, the best-laid plans may be thwarted by the unexpected so that decisions must be made on the fly. On D-Day and just prior, parachutists were not able to land on their targets because of the wind and navigational problems. On the sea, landing craft were taken a mile in the wrong direction by the tides. The ropes for the grappling hooks that were to be used to scale the cliff became too wet and too heavy to reach their marks, etc. Adjustments had to be made. Adaptations created. There were no “time outs.” The war raged on.
       As believers, all of us are in a war. It may not be the same as what the soldiers, sailors and airmen faced in World War II or what they face today. But we are involved in a cosmic spiritual battle with a crafty foe. And we must bring the same spirit to the battle as did the men and women in France and other battle sites. We must be dedicated and willing to sacrifice. And we must be aware that in the fog of war, our best plans may not work and we will most likely have to make adjustments.
       Fortunately, we do not fight in our own strength. Our weakness is made perfect in Christ’s strength, and we go into battle with a sense of confidence that He will give us the dedication, the willingness to sacrifice, and the wisdom to make adjustments as we serve Him.