With all the poverty in the world it is sometimes difficult to understand why God allows such suffering. It has been estimated that over 35% of all the people on earth today live in or near poverty conditions. That’s billions of people! In some countries like Tanzania in Africa and Peru in South America, the percentage is closer to 65% or higher. Every day literally hundreds of thousands die world-wide from lack of food, clean water and the diseases associated with poverty. How can God countenance such suffering? Is this part of his plan? Perhaps those who say that God created the world and then sat back to see what would happen are right. Could their be any other explanation for these things?
In May of 1942, General Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in the Pacific, had a real problem. The world was at war and the war in the Pacific had not been going well. British forces in southeast Asia were on the run from a massive Japanese invasion force that had driven them from Burma and pushed them back into the mountains of India. The Japanese had secured their hold on China and in the course of just seven years had overrun a large portion of Asia including Micronesia where the American forces under MacArthur were staged. The American stronghold was the Philippine Islands. A Japanese landing force had already taken large portions of the islands having landed only days following the attack on Pearl Harbor a little over a year earlier and their superior forces were now closing in on the last Philippine foothold held by MacArthur and his forces, Corrigedor on the Bataan peninsula.
MacArthur had now been ordered by President Roosevelt to evacuate the Philippines leaving behind a force of about 100,000 American and Philippino soldiers under the command of U.S. General Jonathan Wainwright. As MacArthur boarded the P.T. boat that was to carry him to an awaiting aircraft, he looked behind to see what was left of his rag-tag army of destitute, poorly fed and beleaguered farmers and American soldiers. He knew in his heart that most of them would be captured and many killed within weeks. He wrote later that “the sight of those worn and marked faces will stay with me for the rest of my life.” Only weeks later Wainwright surrendered to Japanese General Homma and all of the Philippines fell into enemy hands. Tens of thousands of Philippino and American prisoners were shipped off to prison camps around the Japanese empire. By the end of the war, only one out of twenty would survive. The Japanese mistreated the Philippino natives harshly and many were killed or imprisoned. Food was scarce and shelter hard to find as the Japanese employed a “scorched earth” policy on the islands. When MacArthur landed in Darwin, Australia later that fateful day in May, 1942, this was on his mind. He knew how his beloved Philippines would be scourged and he knew how both soldier and citizen would suffer. As he debarked from the plane he walked over to the tarmac and a microphone that had been set up for an expected statement from the general. After a few brief remarks to the press, he turned his gaze northward to the islands he had fled and uttered these famous words, “I will return!”
MacArthur returned less than two years later. He kept his promise and the islands were liberated. Food and medicine once again flowed into the beleaguered islands. Although many had died, many more were saved because a nation and a general had kept their promises. The Philippino people had never been abandoned, only left to fend ...
Continue reading this sermon illustration (Free with PRO)
Related Text Illustrations
Contributed by Bill Sullivan on Dec 7, 2000
Singer Michael Card wrote a song called The Promise, and he wrote a little Christmas devotional on this theme: He noted: Christianity is founded on a promise. Faith involves waiting on a promise. Our hope is based on a promise. Promises are made with words. … .that part of myself ...read more
Contributed by David Dewitt on Dec 15, 2000
What Does Hope Do For Mankind? Hope shines brightest when the hour is darkest. Hope motivates when discouragement comes. Hope energizes when the body is tired. Hope sweetens while bitterness bites. Hope sings when all melodies are gone. Hope believes when evidence is eliminated. Hope listens ...read more
Contributed by Mark Beaird on Nov 2, 2000
SUCKED IN, WASHED UP, AND BLOWN OVER Chippie the parakeet never saw it coming. One second he was peacefully perched in his cage. The next he was sucked in, washed up, and blown over. The problems began when Chippie’s owner decided to clean Chippie’s cage with a vacuum cleaner. She removed the ...read more
Contributed by Bruce Emmert on Mar 5, 2001
One of my favorite movies is the Christmas classic, A Christmas Story, the saga of a little boy named Ralphie Parker growing up in Gary, Indiana of the 1950’s. Ralphie has been drinking Ovaltine for months, saving up box tops so that he could send in a get a Little Orphan Annie Secret Decoder ...read more