“I Shall Return”
General MacArthur was probably the most controversial general of the last century. His interactions with diplomats and presidents set a standard for those who would follow. In 1942 General MacArthur was forced to retreat from the Philippine Islands to Australia as the Japanese made their assault on the area. MacArthur was obsessed with retaking the Philippines and upon his arrival in Australia he did declare, “I came through Bataan…and I shall return.”
In October of 1944 MacArthur’s forces landed in Leyte, Philippines and he declared, “I have returned. By the grace of Almighty God, our forces stand again on Philippine soil” You know the rest of the story. The Japanese were forced to abandon the islands and eventually the Allied Forces won the war in the Pacific.
I am reminded of another controversial Great General who made a temporary retreat from the battle. Sensing some anxiety in his followers when they realized he was planning a retreat he gave them specific instructions: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” (John 1:1-3)
Christ never made a promise he didn’t keep. One day he will stand on some shore and declare “I have returned. By the grace of Almighty God….I have returned.” His retreat was as a lamb to the slaughter but his return will be as a great Warrior to lead us into the final contest. His coming will mark the final retreat and the final defeat of an enemy who has attempted to deny us the freedom and liberty offered us through the grace of God.