But if not.
Just three little words — three little words that, when strung together, create a phrase that tells a tale of the bravest kind of faith and one of the greatest rescue missions in history ...
It was 1940 and the British and their allies sent a force of some 350,000 men into Europe to stem the tide of German advance. Despite these efforts, the Germans moved forward, and the Allied Forces were eventually driven to the beaches of Dunkirk. Completely surrounded, and with the sea at their backs, the British and the French troops knew that their only hope for survival lay beyond their grasp on the other side of the English Channel. This realization was heartbreaking, because they also knew that there wasn’t nearly enough time or resources available to get 350,000 soldiers to the opposite side of the channel, and their demise was almost a certainty. As the Germans pressed forward, hopelessness settled in, and the British commander sent a bleak, three-word message to the war offices in London:
“But if not.”
This simple phrase, a reference to the Old Testament book of Daniel, communicated how dire the situation was, but it also communicated a faith that prevails in even the most ominous of circumstances. Knowing that the standoff at Dunkirk would most likely end in their death, the British troops prayed for a miracle … but if not, they vowed to remain faithful. They vowed to honor and acknowledge God’s goodness, no matter the outcome.
While the Allied Forces awaited their fate, those three words were fanning the flames of determination, courage and grit back in England. Without any formal organization, thousands of English citizens took it upon themselves to assemble an unconventional fleet of sea craft, made up of every type of boat imaginable, and they headed toward the cornered soldiers. As a result, almost all of the British and French troops soon found themselves safe on the shores of Dover, England, and one of the bravest and unorthodox rescue missions, the kind that only God Himself could orchestrate, had secured a place in history as the “Miracle at Dunkirk.”
Because our hearts beat and break for the orphan, the Miracle at Dunkirk made us think of our favorite orphan warrior, Michelle, at Of Capes and Combat Boots. She has made it her personal mission to transform orphans into sons and daughters, and she is also fighting to stage one of the greatest rescue missions in history. Faced with an orphan crisis of 140 million children, she continues to press forward, while also calling others to action, so that every child can know the joy and safety of a loving home. With brave and courageous faith, she exhorts others to get in their “boats" and follow her to ransom the most defenseless segment of the world. She prays that her message doesn’t fall upon deaf ears, and that the tide of the orphan crisis changes, “but if not,” our Michelle will still give her last devotion to the least of His kingdom.
With all of that said, we absolutely had to design a “but if not” shirt to honor the girl who teaches us how to better love the fatherless and how to better serve our Father. And it just so happens that she will be setting sail to China this summer. And that orphan she pulls into her boat this time? She will call him "son." 100 percent of the profits from our “but if not” shirts will be used to put a little wind in her sails.