By December of 1944, Adolph Hitler’s dreams of world domination were coming to an end. Just a few months later, on April 30, 1945, he would commit suicide, and May 8, 1945, would become the day Americans call V-E (Victory in Europe) day. In December of 1944, however, Hitler’s Germany mounted one last major counteroffensive that featured 250,000 German troops and caught the Allied forces off guard.
The counteroffensive was launched 100 miles inside the Belgian border in the densely forested region of the Ardennes. Germany’s goal was to use a surprise blitzkrieg attack to split the Allied lines and prevent the Allied forces from using the Belgian port of Antwerp. If the splitting of the lines proved successful in separating and fragmenting the Allied forces, the Germans would be able to destroy no less than four Allied armies. The press dubbed the counteroffensive “the Battle of the Bulge” because of the way the fighting caused the Allied front line to bulge inwardly on maps.
In the end, the Allied forces won the Battle of the Bulge, but the victory came at a high cost. The U.S. forces alone suffered over 100,00 casualties, making the battle the deadliest ever fought by America’s army. The German attack came so close to succeeding because the Germans used a variety of ingenius tactics as part of it. One of these tactics involved, of all things, road signs.
A few days before the Germans launched the counteroffensive, a group of elite German soldiers parachuted behind Allied lines. These soldiers were dressed in American uniforms that had been taken from POW’s. Other similarly dressed German soldiers made their way behind enemy lines by using American jeeps that had been captured.
And what were all these covert Germans supposed to do behind Allied lines? Their mission was to alter road signs so as to prevent reinforcing troops from being able to reach the Allied forces when the fighting began. By most accounts this particular tactic proved only moderately successful for the Germans, but we can’t deny that the attempt made a lot of sense. Road signs are certainly important to anyone who doesn’t know the way. Even if you have a G.P.S. you still need road signs to identify the roads.
Of course, just as we need road signs to get where we want to go on a trip, we also need them to get where we want to go spiritually. And where do we find these spiritual road signs? We find them in one place: the Bible. That book is a repository of spiritual road signs that serve to guide our way through this confusing land. Therefore, if we don’t study the Bible and build our lives around its teachings, we really shouldn’t expect to ever get to where God wants us to go.