Cracking the Code

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During World War II, America’s Office of Strategic Services – the precursor to the CIA – was assigned the task of devising subversive ways to help defeat Japan. 
Some of the OSS’s initiatives could best be described as non-traditional. 

More than two million dollars were invested in the development of the “bat bomb.”  Project managers hoped to drop thousands of Mexican free-tailed bats over major Japanese cities.  Each bat would be toting a small incendiary device equipped with a timer.  The bats would hopefully roost under the eaves of Japanese homes (typically made of wood).  At a designated time the devices would ignite thousands of fires.  The operation was never given final approval, much to the relief of the bats. 
The OSS had considerably better luck with Operation Magic.  Teams of codebreakers worked tirelessly to monitor, intercept, and translate encrypted Japanese messages.  Their success became a key component of the Allied victory in the Pacific theater.  
In April 1942, decryption efforts revealed that Japanese military planners were fixated on a place called “AF.”  That was useful information – if anyone could figure out what “AF” meant.
Possibilities included Guam, Seattle, Alaska, the California coast, or Midway, a tiny coral atoll in the middle of the Pacific about 1,300 miles northwest of Hawaii.   
The leader of the codebreaking effort, Captain Joe Rochefort, had his money on Midway.  But with the fortunes of the American navy at stake, he needed some hard evidence.  So Rochefort devised a trick.  Radio operators at Midway were instructed to send out a phony message – one that was encrypted with a code that the Japanese could easily break.  The Midway dispatcher reported that the island’s water supply was running low.  A few hours later, US codebreakers intercepted and translated a Japanese message that “AF is running low on water.”
When Japan’s primary fleet (which included more than 200 vessels) attacked Midway on June 4, 1942, the American fleet was waiting in ambush.  All four Japanese aircraft carriers were sunk – a loss from which the Imperial Navy never recovered.
Historians now know that the Japanese military vanguard had bought into the illusion that their codes could never be broken.  They likewise believed that Americans would never be able to master the complexities and nuances of the Japanese language.  That will never happen to us
But it did.  Because of their hubris, Japan’s leaders failed to realize that American codebreakers had actually cracked their “unbreakable” code within the first few months of the war.
Over-confidence isn’t merely a threat to nations.  Spiritual hubris is one of the great enemies of the soul. 
We see other people crash and burn.  They cheat on crucial relationships, squander once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, and throw away hard-earned reputations because of decisions that defy common sense.  Things like that happen all the time. 
But that will never happen to me.   
Yes, it will happen to you – unless you decide to walk away from any behavior that you know is at odds with God’s intentions for your life. 
What’s the scariest thing you have to face today?
It’s not the threat of war or terrorism or tornadoes or a Wall Street crash or a rogue comet racing toward Earth. 
It’s sin. 
The most daunting thing that stands between us and God on any given day is the brokenness of our own character – something that we rationalize by saying to ourselves, “But everybody else is so messed up, and I’m better than most.  Other people will probably hit the wall.  But that will never happen to me.” 
The apostle Paul is blunt: “Don’t be so naïve and self-confident.  You’re not exempt.  You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else” (I Corinthians 10:12). 
The Bible has cracked the code on what it means to live wisely:   
God-reliance always trumps self-reliance.