Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. Colossians 4:2 NIV
Eighty-one years ago, no one was ready for change, least of all, eleven-year-old Diane. That Sunday morning, she was just slowly waking up. She snuggled down under the blankets quietly thinking of how wonderful it was that her father’s job with the Navy had moved them all the way from Connecticut to Hawaii. The temperature the day before had been in the upper 70’s, and compared to snowy New England, that felt like heaven! Just then she heard the sound of a plane flying strangely low over their house, and she sat up and looking out the window caught a glimpse of a plane as it turned towards the harbor and noticed a bright red circle painted on its wings. Next the phone began ringing, and she heard the door to her parent’s room creak open and her dad’s footsteps padding into the kitchen to answer. Diane slipped out of bed and tip-toed to her doorway, just in time to see daddy running back into the bedroom and hear her mom yelling for her and her older brother Don to wake up. Then from the direction of the harbor, came the sound of explosions, such as she had never heard before. Suddenly everything she knew was turned upside down. My grandfather, who was the captain of one of the destroyers which were not damaged, went out to sea and my grandmother with mom and her two brothers moved back to Connecticut and the world was changed forever!
On this first week of 2023 we are no more ready for what lies ahead than Diane (who was my mom) and her family were on December 7th, 1941. Not even the United States Navy knew that 360 Japanese planes were coming to attack our fleet as it sat at anchor that morning. We can never know what challenges, disasters, or difficulties await us this year. What we can do is pray. Prayer means more than simply sitting up in bed to look out the window. Prayer man’s the anti-aircraft guns at the entrance to the harbor of our souls. Prayer means, watching God’s spiritual radar for enemy infiltrations of our airspace and helping our loved ones to a place of safety when we are under attack. Prayer means staying spiritually awake, but not fearfully huddled in a corner, flinching at every sound. We must devote ourselves to prayer in the same way the U. S. Navy did when it repaired its ships, recruited and trained thousands of seamen and went on to win the war. With God in charge at our spiritual Naval headquarters, we can trust that He knows the plans He has for us, and we can be thankful that He will be with us through the dangers and lead us to victory no matter what lies ahead!