Psalm 46:1-3 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

Pearl Harbor where USS Arizona was hit in surprise attackWe all turn to favorite scriptures in times of distress as a refuge. Today we commemorate the seventy-sixth anniversary of the attack on the American fleet at Pearl Harbor that killed 2,403 people. The 1,177 aboard the USS Arizona represented many locales.

Imagine the widespread grief that enveloped our nation and the intensity of fear. How many parents and families turned to their Bibles that day? Brothers of two of our family’s friends perished, and their siblings signed up to serve in the military.

Proverbs 18:10 The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and are safe.

Uncle Sams We Want YOUMy mother-in-law recalls that Sunday afternoon when the news reached her home in Iowa over the radio. She was a teenager, waiting to go to the church to practice the Christmas program, and says her family knew instantly that her brother would be deployed.

The Army had already trained young men like him for a considerable time then sent them home so they’d be ready if the call came. Imagine the dread of war falling upon their families on December seventh—the army drafted my mother-in-law’s brother, my mother’s two brothers—one of them still in high school—and my father.

A Mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing

Ironically, the Arizona was among the ships that escorted President Wilson to the Paris Peace Conference after World War I. Everyone had held such high hopes that another terrible war would never arise again. But that morning, they faced the foul reality of history repeating itself and needed a refuge to be certain.

Troops from many countries already engaged in the war—Australians and Canadians, Poles, and others had committed their troops earlier. So Americans joined in with thousands of other families worldwide on that day.

Nehemiah 8:10 The joy of the Lord is your strength.

I’m thinking JOY was tough to come by on December 7, 1941. But as people embraced their new reality, they did find strength to make it through. God is good.

Gail Kittleson speaks of the history and the attack on Pearl Harbor at HeartWings Blogo

Many of us have experienced how trouble and sorrow drive us into the arms of the Almighty—into a safe refuge. It’s good to reflect on how that process played out all over the whole world seventy-some years ago.

Delving into the emotions of that day gives us pause…and cause us to be grateful for our present blessings.

Have you needed refuge recently? What are you grateful for on this Pearl Harbor Day?

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Gail Kittleson

Gail Kittleson taught college expository writing and ESL. Now she focuses on writing women’s fiction and facilitating writing workshops and women’s retreats. She and her husband enjoy family in northern Iowa, and the Arizona Ponderosa forest in winter.

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