I Have Returned

It happened in the Philippines. General Douglas MacArthur had decided that in order to gain victory, he must delay direct action. Under cover of darkness, accompanied by just a few close aides, he left; but first he promised, "I will return." The end of that story is one of the most dramatic episodes of World War II.

May I take you back to that glad day at the close of the second world conflict when two thousand prisoners of war were delivered from enemy hands.

Two of the prisoners had built a little radio and secretly listened to the news. One day they heard a familiar voice, "This is General MacArthur speaking. I have returned!"

What marvelous news! The months had dragged wearily into two and a half long years since the day the general left behind him the promise to return. Now he was returning amid a thunder of guns, with an armada of ships and an air force such as had never been seen before in the Pacific.

In the meantime, the news filtered through the camp that the enemy, sensing the hopelessness of its own situation, had actually decreed the death of the prisoners.

Among the prisoners was one who had been asked to serve as a camp official. One evening the guard informed him that at seven the next morning he was to call the prisoners together. Could this be the time when they would hear the long-feared death sentence?

Frightful were those hours as the camp official watched the hands of the clock moving toward the decisive moment. Then he went out with the bell ringer to call the camp. The steel bar was raised, ready to strike the gong.

Suddenly both men looked up. In unison they exclaimed, "Look! Planes!" The bell ringer, his hand still in the air, watched in breathless anticipation. Nearer and nearer they came. They roared overhead. Paratroopers leaped out into the prison yards. Deliverance at last!

Make no mistake about it. The forces of evil are intent on destroying the human race. The enemy of God has his hand raised, ready to strike the death gong. The great controversy between Christ and Satan, between good and evil, is on the verge of its last titanic struggle. But it is written in the Bible: "At that time thy people shall be delivered." At that time--look up! Deliverance is near!

By George Vandeman, Signs of the Times, September 1971. With permission from Dale Galusha dalgal@pacificpress.com

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