In the spring of 1943, the body of a British soldier washed up on the shores of Spain. A briefcase containing secret documents spelling out a planned invasion of southern Europe was still attached to the man’s wrist. Snagging the documents before the British could retrieve them, the head of German intelligence in Spain delivered them to Berlin. As soon as the Nazis discovered that the Allies had been planning a simultaneous invasion in the Balkans and Sardinia, they deployed their troops accordingly. When Allied forces landed in Sicily on July 9, the Germans were taken by surprise. It took them two weeks to realize the dead soldier had been a ruse.
The body, it turns out, had not been that of a soldier, but of a Welsh vagrant who had died from swallowing rat poison and whose corpse had been carefully packed in ice until the secret plan was ready to unfold. The plot itself was cooked up by the British spy agency MI5.1 Clever deceptions like this one helped the Allies defeat a terrible enemy.
Though we can be glad for the Allies’ decisive victory, the story holds a lesson for us because we, too, are engaged in a battle with a powerful enemy. Only this time, the bad guy is the one who is the master of deceit. His name, of course, is Satan. If he cannot succeed in demoralizing us to the point that we forsake our faith, he will try to neutralize us by making us miserable. He does so by feeding us a constant stream of plausible lies about ourselves, others, and God.
One way to guard against such lies is to make obedience a cherished habit. Disobedience makes us vulnerable to all manner of evil. Another way is to pray and read Scripture so that when you hear a lie that contradicts God’s Word, you will recognize it for what it is. A third way is to stay in touch with other Christians. Voicing our doubts and fears to such friends can expose lies that might otherwise flourish inside our minds.
Today, ask yourself what is making you fearful, angry, anxious, or doubtful. If you find you have unknowingly been harboring a lie, reject it, asking God to help you embrace the truth with faith and peace.
1. For more on this strange plot, read Ben Macintyre, Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victory (New York: Harmony Books, 2010).