Protective Presence

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
JOHN 16:33 NIV

This was going to be a very different Christmas. It was December 8, 1941—just one day after the attack on Pearl Harbor. President Roosevelt with full congressional support declared war against Japan even as its Imperial army stormed the Philippines.

My father-in-law, a child living in Manila during the Second World War, recalls four years of God’s miraculous protection. As the battle raged between General MacArthur’s forces and the unflinching Japanese, Dad and his family sought the Lord’s guidance in fervent prayer. Henry and Julia Tan and their young sons followed the Lord’s prompting to find shelter in the hills of Montalban. After months of intense combat, the American forces were pushed back by the enemy and finally surrendered their headquarters on the island of Corregidor in May 1942. Meanwhile, MacArthur retreated to Australia on orders of Roosevelt. Dad and his family then moved back to Manila, now under Japanese occupation. Three years elapsed. The liberation forces returned, intensely fighting to retake the Islands. Again the Tans prepared to take refuge, this time in the mountains of Baguio.

However, a visiting evangelist-friend became deathly ill. At great risk they canceled everything to care for their guest. The Lord mercifully protected them, for it was reported that their destination in Baguio had been destroyed in a bombing raid.

Earnestly praying for continued safekeeping, Dad’s family resettled near the presidential palace. They never imagined a Japanese officer would become their new neighbor and friend. God remarkably used the officer as a shield from another Imperial official who sought to forcibly take the Tan’s home as his own.As the enemy was defeated and the war ended, that Christmas of 1945 was a special one for Dad. Indeed, the Lord had graciously protected him and his family during those difficult years.

Whatever seen or unseen battles you face this Christmas season, remember Jesus’s wondrous birth, His loving sacrifice for sin, and His powerful resurrection. He has demonstrated His salvific power, and He is worthy of your trust. The Lord is with you, and He will see you through.