Whom did these leaders 236 years ago think they were?
How could only several dozen men and women, representing 13 colonies, organize a rebellion against most powerful nation on Earth – England – and succeed?
How could a wealthy “gentleman planter” whose only military service had been in the militia 15 years ago, lead a rag-tag band of inexperienced volunteers to victory over the world’s most professional army?
“Britannia rules the ocean” was the saying of the time, yet somehow the rebellious American colonies managed to maintain trade, secure support from France, and overcome other long odds to gain its independence.
An objective reading of the first-hand accounts of the American Revolution, both British and U.S., reveals that soldiers and leaders on both sides believed God intervened — for the American side – time and time again throughout the rebellion.
Here’s one example: In August 1776, General Washington’s forces were outnumbered 3-to-1 and had lost the battle of Long Island. Washington retreated overnight across the East River to New York City. As he and more than 8,000 soldiers and supplies rowed across the river in small boats, a thick fog enveloped the area.
Nearly a third of the troops were still in Brooklyn when dawn came. Here’s a first-hand account of what happened next from Major Ben Tallmadge, a member of the Continental Army: “At this time, a very dense fog began to rise, and it seemed to settle in a peculiar manner over both encampments. I recollect this providential occurrence perfectly well. And so very dense was the atmosphere that I could scarcely discern a man at six yards’ distance. We tarried until the sun had risen, but fog remained as dense as ever.”
When the fog finally lifted, British General Howe found a completely empty Continental Army encampment in Brooklyn. Washington and the Continental Army had survived, and would continue to hold together and fight for Independence for the next five years. At the end of the Revolution, Washington said this: “I was but the humble agent of a favoring Heaven, whose benign influence was so often manifested in our behalf and to whom the praise of victory alone is due.”
Once founded, America’s greatest time of trial was its own Civil War, 1861-1865. More than 625,000 Americans – North and South – died in this horrific struggle, about the same number of U.S. military deaths in all of other wars combined. Some historians dispute which of the various causes began the conflict, but there’s no doubt that by late 1862 the Civil War became a fight to end slavery and provide full equality for African-Americans.
For the first two years of the struggle, Confederate forces were victorious in many of the battles. A writer to the White House asked President Lincoln whether God was on the side of the Union. Here’s a part of his reply: “Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.”
One could look back time and time again over the past 236 years, and repeatedly see the hand of God at work in favor of America. How has America “blessed God” in return?
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Almost forgotten in the furor over the Affordable Care Act (federal health care, or Obamacare) is that June 2012 marked the 50th anniversary of Engle vs. Vitale, a Supreme Court decision that said it was unconstitutional to have prayer in public schools. Explain that to those in Chardon … or Virginia Tech … or Columbine High.
There will be a countless number of news media stories, Facebook posts, phone calls and conversations about America’s political future between now and November 5. Perhaps some of this time and effort is being misplaced. We should – like George Washington and Abraham Lincoln – focus a bit more on our relationship with Almighty God.
Perhaps we should take some time to explore the Bible. Washington said, “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”
Perhaps, as November approaches, we should examine the record of all the candidates for office and seek those whose character and ethics are of the highest quality. Perhaps, as we pause on Independence Day, we need to realize that there is a struggle going on between good and evil. There is a conflict between those who think man (humankind) is the pinnacle of everything, and those whose reliance is first and foremost upon God.
I believe The United States will become a better nation if it seeks to bless God in its attitudes and actions. Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people. (Proverbs 14:34)
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I’m a bit saddened by the lack of media attention to one simple — yet important – aspect of last week’s ruling. Will the U.S. health care system IMPROVE or WORSEN with this Supreme Court decision?
All too often, we forget that U.S. health care is the envy of many in the world. The most advanced medicines and treatments come from our hospitals, medical centers and laboratories, and pharmaceutical companies. No one seems to have asked the public a simple question: will we be better or worse off?
We know we’ll be paying more – $1.7 trillion more over the next 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
What are we getting for our money?
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Andy Griffith’s wife Cindy said it well. About Andy, she said “He is the love of my life, my constant companion, my partner, and my best friend. I cannot imagine life without Andy, but I take comfort and strength in God’s grace and in the knowledge that Andy is at peace and with God.”
We should all be that way.