MARCH 11, 1942, was a dark, desperate day at Corregidor. One island after another in the Pacific theater had been buffeted into submission. The enemy was now marching into the Philippines as confident and methodical as the big band in the Rose Bowl parade. Surrender was inevitable. The brilliant and bold soldier, Douglas MacArthur, had only three words for his comrades as he stepped into the escape boat destined for Australia: “I shall return.”
Upon arriving nine days later in the port of Adelaide, the sixty-two-year-old military statesman closed his remarks with the sentence: “I came through and I shall return.”
A little over two and a half years later, he stood once again on Philippine soil after landing safely at Leyte Island. This is what he said: “This is the voice of freedom, General MacArthur speaking. People of the Philippines: I have returned!”
MacArthur kept his word. His word was as good as his bond. Regardless of the odds against him, including the pressures and power of enemy strategy, he was bound and determined to make his promise good.
That rare breed of character is almost extinct in today’s culture.
Precious few do what they say they will do without a reminder, a warning, or a threat. Unfortunately, this is true even among Christians.
The Bible’s statements on the subject bring the issue into sharp focus:
A man who makes a vow to the LORD or makes a pledge under oath must never break it. He must do exactly what he said he would do.
Allow me to make this application painfully practical:
- When you reply, “Yes, I’ll pray for you”—do you?
- When you tell someone they can depend on you to help them out—can they?
- When you say you’ll be there at such-and-such time—are you?
- When you obligate yourself to pay a debt on time—do you?
I know another One who promised He would return. He, too, will keep His word. In fact, He’s never broken one promise. There’s no credibility gap with Him. Count on it: He will return!