Written by Jeff Andrechyn
There is a fascinating new book out called To Kingdom Come, by Robert Mrazek, about the epic saga of survival in the air war over Germany durning the second world war. Prior to the invasion of Normandy we sent B-17’s (Flying Fortress) deep into Germany to bomb their factories and cripple their ability to make war. Daylight precision bombing left these aircraft extremely vulnerable to German fighters and antiaircraft guns. The book covers a period when a B17’s chance of coming home from a mission over Germany was one in three. We lost 200,000 men over Europe during the war, most of them were under 25 years old.
A new friend of mine, John Hard Sr., completed his 35th mission as a pilot one day before his 21st birthday. John survived a mission over Hamburg where his squadron lost 1/3 of the fleet and John limped back to England full of bullet holes and only two of four engines running on his B17. John said that the war made men out of boys.
The problem early on during the war, was that our fighters (P51’s) could not carry enough fuel to escort the bombers to the targets over Germany and back. The German fighters waited like a pack of coyotes for our fighters to turn around for England, then they would attack. One German ace (Major Connie Mayer) shot down four B-17’s in 30 minutes. Each B-17 had ten crewmen on board. Once the bombers got past the enemy fighters the flak started and the airmen said it was just fate from there. If an aircraft was hit, the other crews would watch as the airmen from the wounded ship bailed out and witness the possibility of their parachutes catching on fire, not opening, or the enemy fighters that would machine gun them while they were descending.
Everything changed when we developed drop tanks for our P51’s. Our fighters were able to escort the bombers deep into Germany where we then found Major Connie Mayer and shot him down!
What is needed for every mission deep into enemy territory is support. There are ‘milk runs’ over France (easy missions), but it’s the dangerous missions deep into enemy territory that need coordinated support. It’s the same with our life in the Kingdom.
Paul said in Galatians, “You, my brothers, were called to be free, but do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature, rather, serve one another in love.” The body of Christ is an amazing “Flying Fortress” when it functions like it was designed to fly. It’s a place where the “gates of hell cannot prevail.”
Running support is a noble cause that has been overlooked, under developed, and under appreciated in Christianity today. Instead we have all been trained to look for the next Christian rock star who might lead us to the promised land. I like what the Lord told the people in the book of Joshua: “Moses is dead.” What God was after the whole time was a nation, that’s how to take the land, not alone, but as a nation.
On the mount of transfiguration Peter was so impressed to see Moses and Elijah (the law and the prophets) next to Jesus that he wanted to make three tabernacles, but the Father speaks from heaven saying, “This is my beloved son, hear Him.”
Jesus is the one we are looking to and we all run support for this Kingdom that He brought to earth. We don’t need another rock star christian ~ what we need are 200,000 men and women living in their glory who love and support one another.
The key to making effective runs deep into enemy territory is to lend your support to what you are passionate about, and how you were designed by God. If you are on a mission you are not passionate about, then at the first sign of enemy fighters or flak, you will turn back to England and we will find you licking your wounds in the cantina.
I have something to say to you if you have experienced a tough mission over Germany that went bad and one third of your squadron was shot down and you have been in the cantina drinking far to long. There is a life in you that came out of a Fellowship, a Trinity. This life in you runs deeper than the relational wounds that have isolated you. You were designed to fly and lend support to a squadron.
Come and help us develop drop tanks for fighters who were designed to fly further than they thought possible. We could use your support.
What we need are 200,000 men and women living in their glory who love and support one another.
Mmm . That’s beautiful.
Robin, I agree with you. Let us be part of the 200,000!
It starts with you loving and supporting one other person today. Wake up in the morning looking and asking God who that might be. The Kingdom is built one person at a time.
If we can only get our brothers to acknowledge that we live behind enemy lines! So often many of us want to either deny or refuse to recognize this truth. Reminds of CS Lewis’s quote re Satan: that of giving him too much credit or not enough. We need to live in the realty of the warfare that is going on around us. Thanks for the good stuff Gary. Keep up the good work!
I am reading through the one year bible right now and I’m reading where Joshua is leading the nation of Israel into the land. The whole thing is a battle! How have we missed this!
I however want to live as you described, not giving Satan to much credit or not enough.
To be honest though, following God is scarier then the devil. He takes me place that always stretch and challenge me 🙂
Hi Randy. Yep, our story is about overcoming and becoming.
Great post! I think as men we sure need those “wing men” that we can call on when the battle gets intense. I know in my journey I have been blessed to have some that walk with me, and I with them. It’s great as well to have those guys that we can learn from in the online world…like Gary and Jeff! We need those brothers to keep the battles from coming overwhelming and to help us walk in God’s glory, in his light!
This has been an invaluable part of my walk as well. Thank you Doug.
You have zeroed in on the point of this post. We can’t get very far on our own, nor were not designed to. One of the best things about my life is the men I have around me. Its the love at support of those around me that has made the journey possible. I am always looking at their lives to see where I can support and run wingman for them… it goes both ways. What I really enjoy is when they have an idea and I get to run support. Seeing them taking a risk to live in their glory is a great high for me.
It is so refreshing reading about how men can and do have a role in supporting other men. I feel like masculinity and manhood has been downgraded and to a very great degree maligned by the popular culture. One only has to turn the TV on and see how men are represented in sitcoms/shows, while women appear in a more positive light.
As the mother of a son, I try with all my might to show him that as a woman I much rather respect and be with a man who is comfortable with his masculinity than not. Thankfully, my husband sees this issues as I do, and he lives as a masculine man. Masculinity and femininity are part of who we are and they are very important. Were it not the case, Satan would not seek to diminish it.
You and your husband are providing your own culture at home to nurture your son. Your work will remain deeper in your son then what he picks up in the culture outside your home. How you love and support your husband (and how your husband returns that) will speak loudly to your son.
It gives me great hope knowing there are women out there who feel the way you do Gloria… it truly is Kingdom living.
Up until the last few years, I lived my life like the B-17 early in the war. I tried to do everything on my own because I thought I was supposed to live this way. With the support & love you and so many others have given me in the last couple of years, I believe I am beginning to live in my glory, to have the impact that God created me for. I am becoming the father that my children have always needed, the brother that my sisters deserve, and the friend that can actually contribute to others. Thank you so much for believing in me and demonstrating the love of God to me. Just like the B-17 bomber in your story, my ability to complete my mission (i.e. the glory for which I was created) is dependent upon my the support of others because I have realized that my previous lone ranger approach to life was a complete lie. I need support like we all do. I will only be able to give life when I have learned how to first receive it.
Your life has now become an updraft for my own. You inspire me now Scott.
Maybe, this is what God means when he invites us to be part of the trinity between himself, his son, & the holy spirit.