“‘I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.’ Ike declared in 1946. Ike had seen the horrors of war in the Nazi concentration camps, the Normandy landing and assault, and the bloody battles in North Africa. He had written orders and devised battle plans that sent young men to their deaths. Too many times, Ike had doffed his helmet and solemnly bowed his head to honor those who had made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. He was well aware of the evil that came from totalitarian regimes that treated human beings as commodities instead of dignified beings made in the image of God.'” (p. 161)
“In Ike’s lexicon, the ‘spiritual needs’ of the US rank ahead of the political or economic ones.” (p. 153)
(quoting, Time Magazine, April 13, 1953,
and an article titled “Ike’s Faith”)
Biographies are one of my favorite reads. Right now I am reading three biographies, the one mentioned above which is rather short (233 pages), the first volume of the three volume William Manchester biography on Winston Churchill (vol. 1, 908 pages) and the mammoth Bonhoeffer biography by Eberhard Bethge (1048 pages). It’s my second attempt to make it through the Bonhoeffer biography. Likewise the Churchill biography. All of them are inspiring, not because all of these men are alway admirable but because, flawed as each was, they rose to greatness in their time and their greatness transcends their time.
We need leaders like them today. And in particular, we need leaders with Ike’s prescient wisdom. The spiritual needs of the nation are far greater than her political and economic needs. Let’s pray that God would raise up such leaders and let us pray that our churches would better prepare men and women to be such leaders.