Shouting the code words, “Tora, Tora, Tora,” Commander Mitsuo Fuchida ordered the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 14, 1941. As the lead pilot that day he became a national hero in Japan.
Ironically he was in Hiroshima the day before the first atomic bomb was dropped, having left just hours before its impact.
After the war ended he was fascinated by the story of a friend who was captured by the United States. His friend talked about how well he had been treated, and especially remembered a woman named Peggy Coval.
He had asked Peggy why she was so kind. Peggy shared that her parents had been missionaries in Japan and had been taken prisoner and executed. She said that the hate she felt for Japan was overwhelming, but then came to realize her parents died because they loved the people there and they would want her to do the same. She wanted to serve the Japanese prisoners as a sign of her love.
Fuchida was haunted by the story. Much more so when he later he learned about an American pilot who was held as a POW. Incredibly the pilot, Jacob DeShazor, was returning to Japan to be a missionary in the country that held him captive.
Fuchida was overcome by the love and forgiveness he found in the lives of these people. He eventually met and befriended DeShazor, became a missionary himself and began to travel the world with Jacob to share about the grace of God to stunned crowds across the globe.
It was Jim Elliot who said, “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep for what he cannot lose!” Elliot and four other men were killed on the fields of Ecuador in the 1950’s while serving as missionaries among the Aucas Indians. His life still burns as a bright spot in the annals of history, inspiring others to sacrifice and service.
Stephen Arterburn shares a study that found the top reasons for stress in our culture are:
1) Worry about health
2) Worry about finances
3) Worry about safety
4) Not enough sleep
5) Burned out at work
6) Too many commitments
For many Cleveland residents, the fears are compounded by record unemployment rates. However, stories like those above help us reconnect with the rhythm of life, of what matters most. The Psalmist writes, “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).
There are many things beyond our control that can cause unrest. But we can choose where to place our focus and our energy, we can choose love and forgiveness, and we can choose to remember that which we cannot lose.