In the movie, “Saving Private Ryan”, the German army has pinned down the Allied forces on the beaches of France and the soldiers are forced to hide behind anything that offers protection from the barrage of artillery fire. All around them, soldiers are being cut to pieces by machine gun fire and then the character played by Tom Hanks says something that is really profound. He tells them, “We cannot stay here. We must get off this beach! We are dead men if we stay here!”
At first that must have seemed odd to the soldiers who heard him. It is natural as humans to stay huddled in the safe place and not charge ahead in the face of uncertainty and danger. I think many of us are huddled on the beach right now, taking fire from our enemy who wishes to steal, kill and destroy us. God is giving us a clear command today – “Get off the beach! Take the land!”
I don’t see myself as a survivalist. I don’t spend much mental energy thinking about how to protect what I have. I like to see myself as the captain who is encouraging his troops to charge forward. However, for the past several months as the economy has teetered on the verge of collapse, many of my conversations with friends have been about survival and not advancement. I am not sensing a great deal of fear in my friends and I have not discovered much fear in my own heart. What is missing is the raw faith to believe for God’s provision and blessing when everything around us is being shaken and in some cases, overtaken.
God needs us to reclaim the lost vision that has been taken from us. We need to start dreaming again and ask for the bold plans that will take us to the new ground. We cannot stay in neutral. We cannot stay hidden behind false shields on the beach! We must get off the beach and engage the enemy of our faith. We cannot make decisions out of fear. We must believe the truths of Scripture and put them to the test.
The soldiers in World War II did not stay on the beaches of Normandy. With great courage and tremendous sacrifice, they charged ahead and liberated France from the tyranny of the Nazi regime. As followers of Christ, we have all the weapons we need to rout the enemy and take the land. But first, we must get off this beach!