We are considering how condemnation is lifted. Admiral Sato commanded the Japanese submarine fleet at Pearl Harbor. He told me that he really believed that the emperor was divine and ardently indoctrinated the cadets in this belief. I asked him what happened to him when the emperor announced that he was not divine? His reply was: “My world turned upside down. I had been ‘purged’ by the Occupation, my rank as admiral taken away, my income cut off, and I was forced to work on a farm to gain a livelihood though I was not used to such work. And now my faith was gone. I felt stripped of everything—orphaned, estranged, alone. I thought of suicide. I became bad-tempered, lashing out at everybody and everything. A church member asked me why I was so bad-tempered, why I didn’t come to church and find a faith? I replied, ‘I have no time for such things.’” Then he saw the Christian faith at work in a peasant family, bringing peace and joy amid poverty. He broke down and wept at the sight of it. He was led to peace by this verse: “He makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good.” “Well,” he said to himself, “I can’t get in as ‘good’ but I can get in as ‘evil.’” And he did. He was baptized at Easter—befitting, for it was the resurrection of dead hopes, a dead soul. I asked him whether that vacuum within had been filled? He smiled and put up his three fingers: “Jesus is Lord,” our salutation in many parts of the world.
Nothing could have brought him out of that despair and gloom except the lifting of that dead weight of inner condemnation by reconciliation with God—nothing, absolutely nothing.
A banker’s little boy stood by his desk. The little fellow was standing in a shaft of light falling on the floor, and he said, “Daddy, I’m standing in the smile of God.” The banker said wistfully, “I wish I could stand in the smile of God.” We all wish just that!
O Jesus, Thou art God’s smile. And when we stand in Thee we stand in God’s smile. Some still feel they are standing in God’s frown. Help us to move over from frown to smile. Help us to do it now. It is Thy invitation to the evil and the good. Amen.
AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY
Out of Him my world is upside down, in Him it is right side up.
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